Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…


Birth of Texas author and women's club leader

May 7th, 1861

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On this day in 1861, Anna J. Hardwicke Pennybacker, clubwoman, woman suffrage advocate, author, and lecturer, was born in Petersburg, Virginia. She graduated from the first class of Sam Houston Normal School in Huntsville, Texas, continued her education in Europe, and subsequently taught grammar and high school for fourteen years. In 1884 she married native Texan Percy V. Pennybacker. Mrs. Pennybacker wrote and published A New History of Texas in 1888, and the textbook was a staple of Texas classrooms for forty years. She founded one of the first women's clubs in Texas, the Tyler Woman's Club, in 1894. She went on to serve as president of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs from 1901 to 1903, a position in which she raised $3,500 for women's scholarships at the University of Texas and helped persuade the legislature to fund a women's dormitory there. After holding important offices in the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Mrs. Pennybacker was an associate member of the Democratic National Committee (1919-20) and through her work with the Democrats met Eleanor Roosevelt in 1924. Their fourteen-year friendship was based on mutual interests in the advancement of women, world peace, and the Democratic party. Anna Pennybacker died in Austin in 1938.

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