Handbook of Texas Special Projects

Dallas-Fort Worth

The tremendous growth of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex from the 19th through 21st centuries far outpaced the recorded history of this economically vital area. Texas is often associated with its rural ranching history, yet as the decades passed, the cultural and economic identities of Lone Star State evolved to reflect the increasing importance and influence of the urban areas. No area in Texas illustrates this transformation better than DFW—a well-traveled location during the cattle trailing and early railroad eras that blossomed into a modern financial and cultural hotspot in the present day. We need a more complete documentation of the DFW metroplex, and the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) seeks to correct this imbalance in the historical record.

Texas Medicine

Texans lay claim to a dynamic medical history. The state has borne witness to deadly disease outbreaks, the establishment of world-renowned medical institutions, and the discovery of new therapeutics and cures. From the first documented surgery on Texas soil by Cabeza de Vaca in the sixteenth century to the innovative research spearheaded by university laboratories to develop vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, the medical story of Texas is reflective of the many ways Texans have engaged to protect and promote their health and well-being. Today, the healthcare industry represents a significant share of the Texas economy, contributing more than $108 billion to the state’s GDP, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Yet, despite the fundamental role medicine has played in shaping the growth and development of the state, a comprehensive and authoritative medical history of Texas remains unfulfilled. With the development of the Handbook of Texas Medicine, TSHA proudly presents a unique opportunity to address this disparity.

Texas Women

The Handbook of Texas Women project strives to expand on the Handbook of Texas by promoting a more inclusive and comprehensive history of Texas. Texas women make Texas history, and TSHA wants to significantly recognize the various ways women have shaped the state’s history at home, across the state, nationally, and abroad. The impacts of women on Texas history are often overlooked, and as more and more people are accessing information using smartphones, tablets, and other mobile technologies, this project will seize upon the unprecedented opportunities of the digital age in order to reshape how Texas women’s history will be understood, preserved, and disseminated in the twenty-first century.

Texas Music

What is it about Texas music? Trying to define it is like reviewing a dictionary. There is way too much detail to try to pin it down. However, this much is clear: Texans have given American music its distinctive voice, and that's no brag, just fact.

Tejano History

The TSHA is proud to announce the launch of the Handbook of Tejano History, which contains more than 1,200 entries, including 300 new entries, detailing the critical influence of Tejanos on the Lone Star State. Released on March 29, 2016, to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the Tejano Monument unveiling on the Capitol grounds in Austin, the Handbook of Tejano History is the culmination of a two-year effort involving dozens of researchers, educators, students, and Texas history enthusiasts committed to capturing and sharing Tejano contributions to Texas life and culture. Originally conceived in partnership with the board of directors of the Tejano Monument, Inc., the Association’s Handbook of Tejano History joins a number of other important initiatives born out of the legacy of the Tejano Monument, including the Tejano History Curriculum Project and Austin Independent School District’s Cuauhtli Academy/Academia Cuauhtli.

African American Texas

African Americans have been part of the landscape of Texas for as long as Europeans and their descendants. Spanning a period of more than five centuries, African American presence began in 1528 with the arrival of Estevanico, an African slave who accompanied the first Spanish exploration of the land in the southwestern part of the United States that eventually became Texas. While African Americans have been subjected to slavery, segregation, and discrimination during this long history, they have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Texas. They have influenced Texas policies and social standards. Living and working with other ethnic groups, they have helped create a unique Texas culture. Historians have not always acknowledged the role that African Americans have played in the Lone Star State. Although numerous studies of Texas’s past appeared in the twentieth century, until 1970 there remained too many empty pages in the history of the state concerning the black population. This situation has changed since the 1970s, but the need to capture more of the African American experience still exists. For this reason, we are happy to launch the Handbook of African American Texas.

Civil War Texas

At 4:30 on the morning of April 12, 1861—one hundred and fifty years ago this spring (2011)—Confederate States of America artillery opened fire on United States troops in Fort Sumter, South Carolina, beginning the American Civil War. Texans, who had voted overwhelmingly in February 1861 to secede from the Union and then watched their state join the Confederacy in March, thus became involved in a four-year conflict that would take the lives of many and leave none untouched. Texas escaped much of the terrible destruction of the war for a simple reason—United States troops never managed to invade and occupy the state’s interior. In sum, the Civil War exacted a huge price, primarily in terms of lives lost and ruined in the Confederate Army and in the privations of those left at home. However, the conflict had two vitally positive results for Texas: It freed the state’s more than 200,000 enslaved people, and it destroyed the curse of the ‘Peculiar Institution’ for the entire society of the Lone Star State.


The Texas State Historical Association and the Houston History Alliance (HHA) are proud to announce the launch of the Handbook of Houston, which contains more than 1,250 new and existing entries highlighting the significant impact Houston has had on the state, the nation, and the world. Launched on March 2, 2017, the Handbook of Houston is the culmination of many years of historical research.