Handbook of Dallas-Fort Worth

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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.

The Handbook of Texas strives to be the most comprehensive, inclusive, accurate, and clearly written reference resource available on the history of Texas. We continually add new entries and revise existing entries so that they reflect current scholarly standards, thereby offering millions of users from across the globe a free and accessible way to research Texas history. With over 27,000 total entries on the prominent people, places, institutions, and events from the state’s past and present, the Handbook offers millions of users from across the globe a way to learn more about the diverse history of Texas.

However, only about 1,000 entries (approximately 3%) focus primarily on the DFW metroplex. TSHA seeks to add and revise 1,000 entries through this new special project, the Handbook of Dallas/Fort Worth. This effort will provide a needed boost to the study of urban history in Texas. Furthermore, the expansion of the Handbook will create additional connection points for students, teachers, parents, and enthusiasts from the DFW area who share a common interest in history. Inspired by the contributions from their forebears in the region, the next generation will draw from their newly discovered past to achieve more for themselves and their community in the future.

The Handbook of Dallas Fort-Worth project began in late 2018 with the formation of an Executive Advisory Committee consisting of more than twenty scholars from Dallas and Tarrant counties, who identified important DFW topics missing from the Handbook of Texas. EAC members also authored new entries and recruited local scholars to do so. The first entries were completed and submitted in 2019, and within one year nearly 150 topics were assigned with half of those entries completed.

Significant support from the Summerlee Foundation, the Rees-Jones Fund at the Dallas Foundation, the Amon G. Carter Foundation, and the Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation has allowed the hiring of part-time Graduate Research Assistants at Texas Christian University and the University of Texas at Austin to assist with researching, writing, and fact-checking entries, which significantly increases the pace of the project.

The Handbook of Dallas-Fort Worth project is led by TSHA Chief Historian Dr. Walter L. Buenger and Project Director Dr. Michael V. Hazel, a Dallas scholar and author, with support from Handbook Managing Editor Dr. Brett J. Derbes, Handbook Assistant Editors Ted Banks and Russell Stites.

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