Armstrong, Mollie Wright (1875–1964)

By: Gertrude Chambers

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 2, 2017

Mollie Wright Armstrong, optometrist, was born on January 23, 1875, in Bell County, Texas, the daughter of Thomas C. and Elizabeth (Neal) Wright. After attending Baylor Female College, she studied at optometry schools in Georgia, Illinois, and Missouri. When she began her practice in Brownwood in 1899, she was the first woman optometrist in the state and only the second in the United States. She was active in the passage of the first optometry law in Texas, became a member of the Texas Board of Examiners in Optometry, and served as vice president and president of the board, to which she belonged for twenty-four years. She was president of the Texas Optometric Association from 1923 to 1925 and at another time served as the association's director of publicity. When the Texas Optometrist was first published, she was its editor. It was largely through her efforts that the first optometric professional liability policy was made available to optometrists nationwide, and she became a trustee of the American Optometric Association. In 1927 Dr. Armstrong was instrumental in organizing the Texas Woman's Auxiliary to the American Optometric Association. That same year she was appointed a regional director of the American Optometric Association Auxiliary. In Brownwood she was the organizer and first president of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Brownwood Business and Professional Women's Club, and the Brownwood Civic League. She served as director of the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce and represented her district as a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee. She was married to Brownwood jeweler Walter D. Armstrong, who died in 1948. She retired from practice in 1962 and died in Fort Worth on May 23, 1964. She was buried in Greenleaf Cemetery, Brownwood. See also OPTOMETRY.

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Dallas Morning News, May 25, 1964. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 25, 1964. Journal of the Texas Optometric Association, August 1964. Weston A. Pettey, Optometry in Texas, 1900–1984 (Austin: Nortex, 1985).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
  • Women
  • Politics and Government
  • Civic and Community Leaders
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • West Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Gertrude Chambers, “Armstrong, Mollie Wright,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

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August 2, 2017

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