Texas Press Women was organized as the Texas Woman's Press Association on May 10, 1893, in the Windsor Hotel in Dallas, by a group of writers attending the Texas Press Association meeting. They were led by Aurelia H. Mohl of Houston. The purpose of the new association was to encourage Texas women writers and illustrators in their literary work through organized activities and communication with similar groups. Thirty-eight women (membership was then restricted to Whites), representing eighteen Texas towns, became charter members. At the time there were few other statewide women's groups in Texas. The Texas Equal Rights Association, also supported by Mohl, was founded on the same day and in the same hotel. Over the next several years various regional TWPA chapters were formed statewide. By 1971 the regions had been subdivided into districts. Among its early accomplishments, the TWPA successfully petitioned the University of Texas board of regents to establish a school of journalism as a department. In 1916 the TWPA was the first group to provide a scholarship for that department; by 1988 the fund had increased to $15,000. The TWPA also actively supported the building campaign for the state library and produced regular newsletters for its members. It became an auxiliary of the Woman's National Press Association (later National Federation of Press Women, Incorporated) of Washington, D.C., in 1938. That year Madeline McBurnett of Dallas was elected first vice president, and Dona Coulter Carnes of Bryan was chosen Texas vice president to the NFPW board. Until 1941 the TWPA was composed of women journalists, authors, and poets, but after that time the membership was restricted to "women actively engaged in newspaper work," according to TWPA historian Cora Pritchard Dines. In 1961 the affiliate was incorporated, and its name changed to Texas Press Women, Incorporated. The organization has remained supportive of First Amendment rights and continued to ascribe to high professional standards. Over the years TPW members have served in various elective and appointive positions on the NFPW board; in 1980–81 Martha Swain Hemphill Reed of Beaumont was NFPW president, after having served earlier as vice president. Carol Finch served as TPW president in 1987–88. Through the TPW scholarship program, the University of Texas hosts the Dona Coulter Carnes NFPW workshops. In 1987 the TPW was the recipient of two special grants. From the Rosella H. Werlin estate came an endowment of $10,999, with interest to fund expenses or an honorarium for well-known speakers to share their expertise in the areas of journalism, law, and writing techniques with TPW members. Ann Faragher established the Ann Faragher Foundation, $5,000 principal, which funds the annual Ann Faragher Communications Contest Sweepstakes Award. The first of these awards was given in 1988.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Dallas Morning News, May 10, 11, 1893. Fannie Mae Hughs, History of the Texas Woman's Press Association (Huntsville, Texas: Huntsville Item, 1935). Texas Women's Press Association Records, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
H. Allen Anderson,
“Texas Press Women,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 29, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1996
Most Recent Revision Date:
March 10, 2021
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: