A Return to the Texas History Movies
As modern historians, including the Texas State Historical Association,
push the envelope of technology, it is good occasionally to review the
evolution of the media of Texas history. History takes many shapes. It
has moved from the campfire to wall paintings to scrolls to books to
big-screen movies to computers and occasionally even back to the
For several generations of Texans, well before the Internet, some of the
most vivid and memorable history of the state was found in the Texas
History Movies. This oddly titled, written and illustrated work told
the stories of Coronado, La Salle, Austin, Crockett, and Houston in
cartoon form, with accompanying historical text. For more than three
decades, from the late 1920s to the late 1950s, the Texas History
Movies were the way that many of us were first introduced to our
state's unique history.
The Movies started as a daily comic strip in the Dallas News, and
were first published in book form in 1928. Magnolia Petroleum, which
later became part of Mobil Oil, arranged to have the work distributed to
schools across the state. In 1961 Mobil assigned the copyright to TSHA.
TSHA republished the Movies in 1974, after a broad-based advisory
board helped remove potentially offensive stereotypes. The Movies
are still great fun, and provide an amusing portrait of both our history
and ourselves. They admonish us not to take ourselves too seriously.
With that backdrop, go get your box of popcorn and get ready for our
Texas History Movies quiz. The questions vary in difficulty, but all
can be readily answered with the help of the New Handbook of Texas
or the Handbook of Texas Online. You could also refer to
the republished Texas History Movies, which are available
for purchase from TSHA.