Posted November 29, 2018 to News
With the launch of the new book in our series, “Women in Texas History” by Angela Boswell, (TAMU Press, 2018), we thought we would do a Q&A style blog. Below are a few questions we thought of, and the answers from the author. We’re sure you have other questions you’d like to ask related to Boswell’s research, so please post them below or share any comments you may have.
WiTH: What inspired you, or possessed you, to write your book?
AB: For years, I had been amazed at all the research conducted and history written about women in Texas; we are much farther ahead than any other state in this effort. Yet, we did not have a narrative to tie all these remarkable stories and scholarly analyses together, placing them in a broader state context about women’s lives. Standard Texas history textbooks have become better about including information about women, but they neither consider how women’s lives changed over time or how integral women’s work was to the development of the state. Additionally, I wanted to connect Texas to American women’s history, showing how and where Texas women were unique and how and where they were instrumental in national trends and events.
WiTH: What surprised you in either your research or in pulling it all together?
AB: I am constantly and pleasantly surprised at how many people have preserved histories of women in Texas by telling their stories and by analyzing their lives and accomplishments. I was also surprised by how incredibly hard Texas women have worked—to benefit their families’ well-being, to support to the state economy, or to change politics and society. These stories range from the very personal, such as Edith Pitts, a woman living in rugged West Texas who tried to host a dinner party when a steer stepped through the roof of the family dugout, to the very public, such as clubwomen standing outside cotton mills every day, counting the number of children going to work so that they could build an argument to outlaw child labor.
WiTH: What are you most pleased with about the book?
AB: I am very proud that the book relates the hidden work of women that was vital to the state of Texas. I am probably most pleased that the book looks at women of different ethnicities and classes to highlight their shared and contrasting experiences. Pulling together the current research about all of these different groups of women into a chronological narrative will hopefully shape our understanding of Texas history as a whole.
WiTH: What future do you see for scholars in women in Texas history? Perhaps areas of study or as-yet untapped resources?
AB: I end the preface stating my ambition to “to provide a broad narrative interpretation that will be an inspiration and a beginning—not an end—to telling the history of women in Texas.” Although the field of Texas women’s history might be more advanced than other states’, there is still so much more work to do. There are so many great theses and dissertations already defended that need to be published for a wider audience. There are fields that need much more research—Native American women during removal, Asian women of all time periods, post-World War II suburban women, lesbian women, women and popular culture in the 1920s—just to name a few of the areas where I wished I could learn more. And there are so many, many remarkable women who have yet to have their stories told. The field is still so fertile for future historians.