Moody, Mildred Paxton (1897–1983)

By: Sherilyn Brandenstein

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: February 20, 2021

Mildred Paxton Moody, preservationist, journalist, and Texas First Lady, daughter of George and Mathilde (Warren) Paxton, was born on April 20, 1897, in Abilene, where she grew up. She obtained her B.A. degree in 1917 from Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University), attended the University of Texas for her M.A. in English, then returned to Simmons to teach; she also wrote for the Abilene Reporter. She interrupted her teaching career to complete a journalism degree at Columbia University in New York. After returning again to Abilene, she taught journalism at Simmons. Mildred Paxton married Texas attorney general Daniel J. Moody, Jr., on April 20, 1926, six months before he won the gubernatorial race against the incumbent, Miriam A. (Ma) Ferguson. The financial challenges Mrs. Moody faced as First Lady from 1927 to 1930 convinced her that the preservation and decoration of the Governor's Mansion should be managed by appointed regents. On March 5, 1931, soon after Governor Ross S. Sterling succeeded Moody, the Dallas News (see DALLAS MORNING NEWS) published an article by Mildred Moody about her experiences as First Lady. She recommended that a board be established to plan for furnishing the governor's home, preferably to complement its architectural style. Within weeks the Forty-second Legislature authorized the Board of Mansion Supervisors to oversee planning and improvements. Governor Sterling appointed Mildred Moody to head the first three-person board. During her tenure members authorized installation of new furniture, floor coverings, roofing, and tree plantings at the mansion. Mrs. Moody continued with the board until 1941, through Gov. W. Lee O'Daniel's first term. The Moodys had two children. After Dan Moody left the governorship, the family resided in Austin. Mildred died on March 1, 1983, following a long illness and was buried in Austin.

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Jean and Price Daniel and Dorothy Blodgett, The Texas Governor's Mansion (Austin: Texas State Library, 1984). Mary D. Farrell and Elizabeth Silverthorne, First Ladies of Texas...1836–1936 (Belton, Texas: Stillhouse Hollow, 1976).

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Women
  • Politics and Government
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Preservationists
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Civic and Community Leaders
  • First Lady/First Gentleman of Texas
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • West Texas
  • Abilene
  • Central Texas
  • Austin

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

Sherilyn Brandenstein, “Moody, Mildred Paxton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

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May 1, 1995
February 20, 2021

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