Books | Texas
Women in Texas
By Angela Boswell
Women in Texas History Series.
Foreword by Nancy Baker Jones and Cynthia J. Beeman.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2018)
Illustrated. Hardcover. 366 pages
Review by Dr.
March 1, 2019
| "This book
is a narrative of Texas women's history. It is based on a simple premise:
what women did in the past is intrinsically worth knowing. Texas would
not be Texas without one half of its population." So asserts Angela
Boswell (Ph.D., Rice University) in this superb and much-needed chronological
overview of the history of women in the Lone Star State. This comprehensive
survey, solidly researched and clearly written, covers the precontact
period to the late 20th century. Boswell, thoroughly inclusive, discusses
Native Americans, Tejanas, Anglos, African Americans, Germans, and
Asians. Moreover, she examines "other categories that shape women's
identity, such as class, religion, political ideology, and sexuality."
The book includes ten chapters and a conclusion. Among the topics
she explores are "The Frontier South in the Early Nineteenth Century,"
"Making West Texas," "Women's Activism, 1870s-1920s," "Accepting and
Rejecting Conformity in the Postwar Decades," and "Taking Charge:
Women to the End of the Twentieth Century." Dr. Boswell contends that,
"Whatever the future holds for Texas women, for centuries they have
proven their strength and ability to shape politics and culture even
in the most oppressive environments. Their roles and expectations
have changed significantly over the years, allowing women greater
expressions of their individuality and economic independence. In their
old roles as well as their new ones, women have been crucial in creating
the state of Texas."
Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Henderson State
University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Boswell authored Her Act and
Deed: Women's Lives in a Rural Southern County, 1837-1873 (Texas A&M
University Press, 2001), which focuses on Colorado County, Texas.
She also coedited Women in Civil War Texas: Diversity and Dissidence
in the Trans-Mississippi (University of North Texas Press, 2016).
A valuable addition to the field of Texas studies, Women in Texas
History should be assigned in the classroom and deserves a prominent
place on the bookshelf of every Lone Star enthusiast, whether scholar
or general reader.
Book Review Editor,
Central Texas Studies
More Reviews by Dr. Kirk Bane