TSHA Community

Great publications from our members and award recipients.

These books were authored by members of TSHA or received one of TSHA’s book awards. They are provided here for reference and support of the historical content they contain.


List of Publications (126 total) Page 1 of 11

Amarillo Flights: Aerial Views of Llano Estacado Country

After the success of his 2014 Marfa Flights: Aerial Views of Big Bend Country, Paul Chaplo has given us another visual and textual volume that is sure to delight and interest all readers who seek to know more about the beauty and history of the Llano Estacado. Working with his wife, Cynthia, throughout this impressive project, as well as with seven pilots, and nine aircraft, Chaplo and his team covered over forty thousand square miles in every possible kind of weather, flying over plains and playas and diving into canyons and river bottoms. Chaplo is known for the beauty of his photographic work, and this book adds to that reputation with his complex portrayals of the land and peoples. A valuable and fascinating history accompanies this personal journey. The book, like the region, is filled with “turbulent air and history.”

Readers will find excellent Texas art history background in Walt Davis's reviews of previous portraits of the land, from Louise Daniel to Wyman Meinzer and Frank Reaugh. Such commentary on previous photographic and artistic histories of western landscapes lends a fine context to Amarillo Flights and situates the work in a larger conversation.

Working in “the vast three-dimensional studio of the sky,” aerial photographer Chaplo has battled high winds, turbulence, dust, ice, near-miss bird strikes, wildfire smoke, and a host of aircraft problems to show the Llano Country from the air. He explores the incredible beauty and rich cultural history of the Panhandle and the surrounding landscapes, from Horsehead Crossing to the canyons of Texas and New Mexico, Fort Bascom site, Chavez City Ruins, Puerto de los Rivajeños, 1874 Adobe Walls Battlefield, and the Antelope Hills in Oklahoma—to name a few.

Reviews

“In Amarillo Flights, Paul Chaplo from high above the land has brilliantly photographed the Llano Estacado’s vastness, its magnificent canyonlands, and its historic sites from new and wonderous perspectives. It is a marvelous book of history and photography.”

— Paul H. Carlson

“The Llano Estacado, near level and treeless, has escarpments on three sides in the states of Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Paul Chaplo’s photographs encompass not merely the three eroded edges of the plains but also the immensity of the flatness that they surround. This comprehensive panorama of the Southern Great Plains from above is unequaled in the work of his predecessors.”

— T. Lindsay Baker

Read More »

Murder in Montague: Frontier Justice and Retribution in Texas

On a sweltering August night in 1876, Methodist minister William England, his wife, Selena, and two of her children were brutally slaughtered in their North Texas home. Acting on Selena’s deathbed testimony, a neighbor, his brother-in-law, and a friend were arrested and tried for the murders. Murder in Montague tells the story of this gruesome crime and its murky aftermath. In this engrossing blend of true crime reporting, social drama, and legal history, author Glen Sample Ely presents a vivid snapshot of frontier justice and retribution in Texas following the Civil War.

The sheer brutality of the Montague murders terrified settlers already traumatized by decades of chaos, violence, and fear—from the deadly raids of Comanche and Kiowa Indians to the terrors of vigilantes, lynchings, and Reconstruction lawlessness. But the crime's aftermath—involving five Texas governors, five trials at Montague and Gainesville, five appeals to the Texas Court of Appeals, and three life sentences at hard labor in the state's abominable and inhumane prison system—offered little in the way of reassurance or resolution.

Viewed from any perspective, the 1876 England family murders were both a human tragedy and a miscarriage of justice. Combining the long view of history and the intimate detail of true crime reporting, Murder in Montague deftly captures this moment of reckoning in the story of Texas, as vigilante justice grudgingly gave way to an established system of law and order.

Read More »

Improbable Metropolis: Houston's Architectural and Urban History

Just over 180 years ago, the city of Houston was nothing more than an alligator-infested swamp along the Buffalo Bayou that spread onto a flat, endless plain. Today, it is a sprawling, architecturally and culturally diverse metropolis. How did one transform into the other in such a short period?

Improbable Metropolis uses the built environment as a guide to explore the remarkable evolution that Houston has undergone from 1836 to the present. Houston’s architecture, an indicator of its culture and prosperity, has been inconsistent, often predictable, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally extraordinary. Industries from cotton, lumber, sugar, and rail and water transportation, to petroleum, healthcare, biomedical research, and aerospace have each in turn brought profit and attention to Houston. Each created an associated building boom, expanding the city’s architectural sophistication, its footprint, and its cultural breadth. Providing a template for architectural investigations of other American cities, Improbable Metropolis is an important addition to the literature on Texas history.

Read More »

War and Peace on the Rio Grande Frontier, 1830–1880

The historical record of the Rio Grande valley through much of the nineteenth century reveals well-documented violence fueled by racial hatred, national rivalries, lack of governmental authority, competition for resources, and an international border that offered refuge to lawless men. Less noted is the region’s other everyday reality, one based on coexistence and cooperation among Mexicans, Anglo-Americans, and the Native Americans, African Americans, and Europeans who also inhabited the borderlands. War and Peace on the Rio Grande Frontier, 1830–1880 is a history of these parallel worlds focusing on a border that gave rise not only to violent conflict but also cooperation and economic and social advancement.

Meeting here are the Anglo-Americans who came to the border region to trade, spread Christianity, and settle; Mexicans seeking opportunity in el norte; Native Americans who raided American and Mexican settlements alike for plunder and captives; and Europeans who crisscrossed the borderlands seeking new futures in a fluid frontier space. Historian Miguel Ángel González-Quiroga draws on national archives, letters, consular records, periodicals, and a host of other sources to give voice to borderlanders’ perspectives as he weaves their many, varied stories into one sweeping narrative. The tale he tells is one of economic connections and territorial disputes, of refugees and bounty hunters, speculation and stakeholding, smuggling and theft and other activities in which economic considerations often carried more weight than racial prejudice.

Spanning the Anglo settlement of Texas in the 1830s, the Texas Revolution, the Republic of Texas , the US-Mexican War, various Indian wars, the US Civil War, the French intervention into Mexico, and the final subjugation of borderlands Indians by the combined forces of the US and Mexican armies, this is a magisterial work that forever alters, complicates, and enriches borderlands history.

Read More »

Agent of Change: Adela Sloss-Vento, Mexican American Civil Rights Activist and Texas Feminist

The essayist Adela Sloss-Vento (1901–1998) was a powerhouse of activism in South Texas’s Lower Rio Grande Valley throughout the Mexican American civil rights movement beginning in 1920 and the subsequent Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. At last presenting the full story of Sloss-Vento’s achievements, Agent of Change revives a forgotten history of a major female Latina leader.

Bringing to light the economic and political transformations that swept through South Texas in the 1920s as ranching declined and agribusiness proliferated, Cynthia E. Orozco situates Sloss-Vento’s early years within the context of the Jim Crow/Juan Crow era. Recounting Sloss-Vento’s rise to prominence as a public intellectual, Orozco highlights a partnership with Alonso S. Perales, the principal founder of the League of United Latin American Citizens. Agent of Change explores such contradictions as Sloss-Vento’s tolerance of LULAC’s gender-segregated chapters, even though the activist was an outspoken critic of male privilege in the home and a decidedly progressive wife and mother. Inspiring and illuminating, this is a complete portrait of a savvy, brazen critic who demanded reform on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Read More »

The People's Revolt: Texas Populists and the Roots of American Liberalism

In the years after the Civil War, the banks, railroads, and industrial corporations of Gilded‑Age America, abetted by a corrupt political system, concentrated vast wealth in the hands of the few and made poverty the fate of many. In response, a group of hard‑pressed farmers and laborers from Texas organized a movement for economic justice called the Texas People’s Party—the original Populists. Arguing that these Texas Populists were among the first to elaborate the set of ideas that would eventually become known as modern liberalism, Gregg Cantrell shows how the group broke new ground in reaching out to African Americans and Mexican Americans, rethinking traditional gender roles, and demanding creative solutions and forceful government intervention to solve economic inequality. Although their political movement ultimately failed, this volume reveals how the ideas of the Texas People’s Party have shaped American political history.

Read More »

Texas Women and Ranching: On the Range, at the Rodeo, and in Their Communities

The realm of ranching history has long been dominated by men, from tales—tall or true—of cowboys and cattlemen, to a century’s worth of male writers and historians who have been the primary chroniclers of Texas history. As women’s history has increasingly gained a foothold not only as a field worthy of study but as a bold and innovative way of understanding the past, new generations of scholars are rethinking the once-familiar settings of the past. In doing so, they reveal that women not only exercised agency in otherwise constrained environments but were also integral to the ranching heritage that so many Texans hold dear.

Texas Women and Ranching: On the Range, at the Rodeo, and in Their Communities explores a variety of roles women played on the western ranch. The essays here cover a range of topics, from early Tejana businesswomen and Anglo philanthropists to rodeos and fence-cutting range wars. The names of some of the women featured may be familiar to those who know Texas ranching history—Alice East and Frances Kallison, for example. Others came from less well-known or wealthy families. In every case, they proved themselves to be resourceful women and unique individuals who survived by their own wits in cattle country.

This book is a major contribution to several fields—Texas history, western history, and women’s history—that are, at last, beginning to converge.

Read More »

An East Texas Family's Civil War: The Letters of Nancy & William Whatley May-December 1862

During six months in 1862, William Jefferson Whatley and his wife, Nancy Falkaday Watkins Whatley, exchanged a series of letters that demonstrate vividly the quickly changing roles for women whose husbands left home to participate in the Civil War. The Whatleys were slave owners who owned a ranch in east Texas, near the village of Caledonia in Rusk County. William Whatley enlisted with the Confederate Army in 1862, leaving his wife Nancy in charge of their cotton farm and enslaved workers. In letters to her husband, she describes in detail how she dealt with and felt about her new role. For her, the new management position in her family thrust her into an array of unfamiliar duties, including dealing with increasingly unruly slaves, overseeing the harvest of the cotton crop, and negotiating business transactions with unscrupulous white men. She also cared for her family during seemingly endless epidemics of measles and diphtheria. Her husband, hundreds of miles away, could offer only advice, sympathy, and frustration. Transcribed and annotated here for the first time by Ted Whatley (great-grandson of the Whatleys) and S. Kirk Walsh, a professional writer, the Whatley letters are notable for their descriptions of the unraveling slave ownership and accounts of southern society and Confederate loyalty collapsing under the duress of war. Nancy’s letters offer a rare window on the hardships faced by women left behind to care for their families and manage their enslaved workers and farming businesses. Her dispatches are telling as well for the way they illustrate her personal struggles and wavering support for the war.

Read More »

In the Shadow of the Chinatis: A History of Pinto Canyon in the Big Bend

There is a deep and abiding connection between humans and the land in Pinto Canyon—a remote and rugged place near the border with Mexico in the Texas Big Bend. Here the land assumes a certain primacy, defined not by the ephemera of plants and animals but by the very bedrock that rises far above the silvery flow of Pinto Creek— looming masses that break the horizon into a hundred different vistas. Yet, over time, people managed to survive and sometimes even thrive in this harsh environment.   
 
In the Shadow of the Chinatis combines the rich narratives of history, natural history, and archeology to tell the story of the landscape as well as the people who once inhabited it. Settling the land was difficult, staying on it even more so, but one family proved especially resilient. Rising above their meager origins, the Prietos eventually amassed a 12,000-acre ranch in the shadow of the Chinati Mountains to become the most successful of Pinto Canyon’s early settlers. But starting with the tense years of the Great Depression, the family faced a series of tragedies: one son was killed by a Texas Ranger, and another by the deranged son of Chico Cano, the Big Bend’s most notorious bandit. Ultimately, growing rifts in the family forced the sale of the ranch, marking the end of an era.

Bearing the hallmarks of an epic tragedy, the departure of the Prieto family signaled a transition away from ranching towards a new style of landownership based on a completely different model. Today, Pinto Canyon’s scenic and scientific value increasingly overshadows the marginal economics of its past.

In the Shadow of the Chinatis reveals a rich tapestry of interaction between humans and their environment, providing a unique examination of the Big Bend region and the people who call it home.

Read More »

Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life

Raised in a one-room log cabin in a small North Texas town, Amon G. Carter (1879–1955) rose to become the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a seat of power from which he relentlessly promoted the city of Fort Worth, amassed a fortune, and established himself as the quintessential Texan of his era. The first in-depth, scholarly biography of this outsize character and civic booster, Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life chronicles a remarkable life and places it in the larger context of state and nation.

Though best known for the Star-Telegram, Carter also established WBAP, Fort Worth’s first radio station, which in 1948 became the first television station in the Southwest. He was responsible for bringing the headquarters of what would become American Airlines to Fort Worth and for securing government funding for a local aircraft factory that evolved into Lockheed Martin. Historian Brian A. Cervantez has drawn on Texas Christian University’s rich collection of Carter papers to chart Carter’s quest to bring business and government projects to his adopted hometown, enterprises that led to friendships with prominent national figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Will Rogers, H. L. Mencken, and John Nance Garner.

After making millions of dollars in the oil business, Carter used his wealth to fund schools, hospitals, museums, churches, parks, and camps. His numerous philanthropic efforts culminated in the Amon G. Carter Foundation, which still supports cultural and educational endeavors throughout Texas. He was a driving force behind the establishment of Texas Tech University, a major contributor to Texas Christian University, a key figure in the creation of Big Bend National Park, and an art lover whose collection of the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell served as the foundation of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life testifies to the singular character and career of one man whose influence can be seen throughout the cultural and civic life of Fort Worth, Texas, and the American Southwest to this day.


“Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life is essential reading for those interested in the history of Fort Worth and West Texas. But it also provides a valuable view into New Deal politics, the rise of the urban progressive businessman in the Southwest, and the intersection of southern and western cultures emerging in the first half of the twentieth century in the Lone Star state.”— Southwestern Historical Quarterly

 

Read More »

Historic Homes of Waco, Texas

n this thoughtful tour of 120 historic homes in Waco, Texas, architectural historian Kenneth Hafertepe gives readers a glimpse of the surprising variety of styles and stories captured in the houses built by and for Wacoans. Focusing on the period from the 1850s to about 1940, Hafertepe provides not only snapshots of the dwellings in which the people of Waco lived, but also informed hints about how they lived: everyone from the wealthiest merchants to the humblest day laborers.

Historic Homes of Waco, Texas incorporates material gleaned from city directories, fire insurance maps, census and cemetery records, and other archival and published sources to afford the most complete picture possible of how these homes came to be and what became of those who built and lived in them. Over 120 color photographs, also taken by the author, round out the descriptions.

The popular enthusiasm for the television series featuring Waco-area “fixer-uppers,” coupled with the burgeoning local industry generated by the show’s two charismatic hosts, has certainly boosted interest in historic homes and buildings in Waco. Indeed, Hafertepe has incorporated a handful of properties featured on the show among the houses profiled in this book. But beyond any current entertainment craze, Historic Homes of Waco, Texas will stand the test of time as an authoritative and entertaining tribute to these important structures and the people who inhabited them.

Read More »

The Polio Years in Texas: Battling a Terrifying Unknown

From the 1930s to the 1950s, in response to the rising epidemic of paralytic poliomyelitis (polio), Texas researchers led a wave of discoveries in virology, rehabilitative therapies, and the modern intensive care unit that transformed the field nationally.

The disease threatened the lives of children and adults in the United States, especially in the South, arousing the same kind of fear more recently associated with AIDS and other dread diseases. Houston and Harris County, Texas, had the second-highest rate of infection in the nation, and the rest of the Texas Gulf Coast was particularly hard-hit by this debilitating illness. At the time, little was known, but eventually the medical responses to polio changed the medical landscape forever.

Polio also had a sweeping cultural and societal effect. It engendered fearful responses from parents trying to keep children safe from its ravages and an all-out public information blitz aimed at helping a frightened population protect itself. The disease exacted a very real toll on the families, friends, healthcare resources, and social fabric of those who contracted the disease and endured its acute, convalescent, and rehabilitation phases.

In The Polio Years in Texas, Heather Green Wooten draws on extensive archival research as well as interviews conducted over a five-year period with Texas polio survivors and their families. This is a detailed and intensely human account of not only the epidemics that swept Texas during the polio years, but also of the continuing aftermath of the disease for those who are still living with its effects.

Public health and medical professionals, historians, and interested general readers will derive deep and lasting benefits from reading The Polio Years in Texas.

“Though much has been written recently about the great national polio crusades, little has been said about the impact of this horrific disease at the local level. Heather Wooten's new book beautifully fills this void by showing how one state and its people, particularly hard hit by polio, rallied to confront this disease. Crisply written and deeply researched, with a focus on the courageous survivors of polio, 'Battling a Terrifying Unknown' will set the standard for future studies in this field.”

— David Oshinsky, recipient of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Polio: An American Story

“…an engaging and generally skillful piece of social history…”

— Barbara Gastel, professor, department of humanities in medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center

“Drawing primarily on oral and archival techniques, Wooten produces a lively and well-researched account of how Texans understood and responded to polio during those decades…a lively and well-researched account of the social history of polio in Texas… with verve and thoroughness.”

— Penny L. Richards, H-Net

Read More »