Deborah M. Liles
Deborah Liles is an assistant professor and the W. K. Gordon Endowed Chair in Texas History at Tarleton State University. She is the coeditor of Women in Civil War Texas: Diversity and Dissidence in the Trans-Mississippi, winner of the Liz Carpenter Award for Best Book on the History of Women, and coeditor of African Americans in Central Texas History: From Slavery to Civil Rights. She resides in Weatherford, Texas.
The realm of ranching history has long been dominated by men, from tales—tall or true—of cowboys and cattlemen, to a century’s worth of male writers and historians who have been the primary chroniclers of Texas history. As women’s history has increasingly gained a foothold not only as a field worthy of study but as a bold and innovative way of understanding the past, new generations of scholars are rethinking the once-familiar settings of the past. In doing so, they reveal that women not only exercised agency in otherwise constrained environments but were also integral to the ranching heritage that so many Texans hold dear.
Texas Women and Ranching: On the Range, at the Rodeo, and in Their Communities explores a variety of roles women played on the western ranch. The essays here cover a range of topics, from early Tejana businesswomen and Anglo philanthropists to rodeos and fence-cutting range wars. The names of some of the women featured may be familiar to those who know Texas ranching history—Alice East and Frances Kallison, for example. Others came from less well-known or wealthy families. In every case, they proved themselves to be resourceful women and unique individuals who survived by their own wits in cattle country.
This book is a major contribution to several fields—Texas history, western history, and women’s history—that are, at last, beginning to converge.