Texas Insights - May 2015

Volume V, Issue 5
 

What’s New?

The spring semester is in so many ways the culmination of numerous efforts both inside and outside the classroom. It is also the season for a variety of contests and the recognition of hard work demonstrated by thousands of students and the teachers who guide them. Numerous organizations offer opportunities for elementary and secondary students to be creative and share their knowledge of Texas history, geography, civics, economics and other areas which comprise Texas studies. 
Please join us in commending the quality efforts demonstrated by our young people and their mentors in the programs listed below and consider these valuable programs as a way to strengthen and enrich your classroom and school programs next year. Simply click on the links below to see more about the winners and programs.
 
The Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) offers a variety of programs with classroom and extracurricular connections. This year’s, revamped and all-digital, Texas Quiz Show state champion winner was Saavam Myneni from Canyon Vista Middle School. Students from all over Texas competed by taking a series of quizzes, and the top 12 students were invited to compete in the state competition, held May 2, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Each year the TSHA hosts a t-shirt design competition. This year’s winner, William Louis from Burkburnett Middle School will see his design on every Texas student competing at National History Day this June. On May 2, results of this year’s Texas History Day state contest were announced as nearly 1,200 students presented their various projects to see who would represent Texas at National History Day in June. Earlier this spring, TSHA’s Junior Historians program announced the results of its annual writing contest, history fair and chapter achievement awards. Last but not least, on March 6, Jessica Janota was announced as the 2014 Mary Jon and J. P. Bryan Leadership in Education Award recipients.
 
Other organizations also work equally hard to provide engaging educational activities for our youth. The Texas Council on Economic Education offers a variety of programs including the Stock Market Game which is open to students in 4th through 12th grades. Students from St. Marks School in Dallas were named the High School State Winners, and students from Ovida Springer Elementary in Rockwall were named the Elementary division winners. The Texas Alliance for Geographic Education and various other organizations make the National Geographic Geography Bee available to students in 4th-8th grade, with Joseph Afuso, an 8th grader from Bishop Garriga Middle School in  Corpus Christi, winning the state bee and representing Texas at this summer’s national contest. Several organizations make writing and art award opportunities available including the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT), The Sons of the Republic of Texas, and the Texas General Land Office.
 
Of course, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) has local opportunities for middle school students and a state level structure for high school students. Law-Related Education sponsors, The Texas Citizen bee, to promote essentials of American heritage, including the Constitution, and other important documents. This year’s state champion is Ayesha Rahman from Brighter Horizons Academy in Garland.  A number of other opportunities are also available for high school students from organizations across the state. The Friends of the Governor’s Mansion, offers a high school history contest and congratulate winners, Autumn Boelen and Sheridan Stiteler from Saint Jo High School for the best overall group project, Margarita Coronado from Honey Grove High School for best individual project, Jose Luna from Tidehaven High School for best use of audio, Drew Cunningham from Honey Grove High School for best use of images, and Kayla Mitchell from Linden-Kildare High School for best use of text. 
 
You can find information about most of the above opportunities on TeachingTexas.org. Congratulations to all the students and their teachers for a job well done!
 
 

New Humanities Texas Online Exhibitbit 

Humanities Texas is proud to introduce their newest online exhibit, American Prisoners of War: Firsthand Accounts from the Civil War to Vietnam. This exhibit includes compelling firsthand narratives from Texas veterans from World War II POWs Robert Preston Taylor, Rufus W. Smith, and Roy Maxwell Offerle; World War I POW Pat O'Brien; Vietnam War POW Congressman Sam Johnson; and Andersonville prisoner Prescott Tracy, as well as resources on American prisoners of the Korean War and a selection of POW-related film and radio documentaries. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org. 
 

 

 

Discovering Texas Workshop Series

Join the Texas State Historical Association and the Region 13 Education Service Center for this year’s Discovering Texas History Conference, August 10-11, 2015 to be held at the Thompson Conference Center and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.  This event, for 4th and 7th grade Texas History teachers will allow teachers to choose from a variety of sessions on relevant Texas history topics, such as Texas history content, Geography, Economics, Civics, Resources, and strategies. Registration is open and includes lunch both days of the event, CPE or GT credit hours, access to all vendors and presentations, and a special reception. For additional informaiton, visit TeachingTexas.org. 
 

Featured Institution

SMU Central University Libraries
By Cindy Boeke

Southern Methodist University (SMU) has made freely available 47,000 photographs, documents, and videos held by Central University Libraries’ (CUL) special collections on the CUL Digital Collections web site. CUL Digital Collections are particularly rich in the history of Texas, Mexico, the U.S. West,  the U.S. Civil War, railroads, and much more. CUL Digital Collections contain thousands of primary resources relating to Texas history held by the DeGolyer Library. The collections, which date ca. 1820s-1940s, include items that illustrate the Revolution and Republic; Early Statehood; Texas in the Civil War and Reconstruction; Cotton, Cattle, and Railroads; and the Age of Oil.

Nearly 8,100 Texas history items were digitized by CUL’s Norwick Center for Digital Services (Norwick Center) under a variety of grants, including five separate Texas Treasures grants from the Texas State Library and Archives and a grant from the  Summerlee Foundation’s Texas History Program. These funds allowed the Norwick Center to digitize some 3,500 early Texas photographs from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs collection; 1240 early Texas postcards in the Texas: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints digital collection; 2,300 Texas-related oil and corporate negatives, ca. 1940s-1960s, in the Robert Yarnall Richie Photograph Collection; and more than  700 Texas railroad negatives in the Railroads: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints digital collection. Additional funds are allowing us to digitize Texas art from SMU’s Bywaters Special Collections for upload into the Texas Artists: Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper digital collection. 
 
The Norwick Center also serves as a teaching lab. For six years, we have hosted a practicum for the two North Texas library schools, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, whereby two dozen library school graduate students have received hands-on training in digital collections development, digitization, and metadata creation. We also have a Digital Humanities Practicum for SMU students, who learn about digital collections and digitization through projects tailored to their unique interests. We would be delighted to give educators a tour of the Norwick Center to demonstrate how we are making historic, primary documents on Texas history available and accessible through the CUL Digital Collections web site.
 
Below are highlights of the online Texas history materials that can be used to teach the Texas history curriculum. We have available a variety of writing prompt ideas for 4th and 7th graders based on these resources, which is available by email from ncds@smu.edu.
 
Rowe-Barr Collection of Texas Currency
This digital collection contains more than 1,200 notes, scrip, bonds, and other financial obligations, issued in Texas, ca. 1820s-1890s. Among the more famous signatures are those of Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, David G. Burnet, Asa Brigham, Francis R. Lubbock, John Wyatt Moody, and Green DeWitt.
 
Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs
This digital collection contains approximately 3,600 photographs, ca. 1846-1930s, including Confederate and Union soldiers and officers in the Civil War and a wide spectrum of Texan citizens, including African American, American Indian, and Caucasian men, women, and children. The photographs provide a unique glimpse into the social and domestic history of Texas, as well as Texas architecture, transportation, ranching, agriculture, business, and material culture.
 
Texas: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints (DeGolyer Library)
This digital collection contains some 2,000 photographic images, postcards, books, historic documents, and maps of Texas. Of particular note are several collections of early photographic postcards showing Texas railroads, early oil fields and rigs, courthouses, military camps, parades, and events in small Texas towns.
 
Railroads: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints
(DeGolyer Library)
This digital collection contains a growing number of photographs depicting Texas railroads. From roughly the 1870s-1940s, railroads were the transportation backbone of Texas and played an indelible role in the financial and cultural growth of the state.
 
Robert Yarnall Richie Photograph Collection (DeGolyer Library)
Robert Yarnall Richie was a corporate photographer who had many clients in Texas, ca. 1936-1970. During this time, Richie booked photography assignments with many large Texas corporations, including virtually all notable oil-related companies in Texas. These 2,200 corporate Texas photographs, when viewed collectively, showcase the history, equipment, facilities, and employees of Texas industry during the mid-20th century.
 
Texas Artists: Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper 
This is a joint digital collections project between Southern Methodist University’s Bywaters Special Collections; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Dallas Public Library’s Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division and Fine Books Division; the Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin; and the Meadows Museum (SMU). The goal of the project is to provide access to a wide range of digitized copies of works by Texas artists.
 
For more information on CUL Digital Collections please contact ncds@smu.edu.

 

Historian's Corner

Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, Director of the Women's Army Corps
By Debra L. Winegarten

Lynn Culp opened her front door and reached out to hug her older sister who was visiting from Washington, D.C. She took one look at her sister and stepped back, aghast. Her big sister was wearing a uniform -- a military uniform!
 
“Oveta,” Lynn said, looking her over with excitement, “what are you?”
 
“I’m a colonel!” Oveta answered. (Shire 1997, vi-vii)
 
Oveta Culp Hobby, a Killeen native, born in January 1905, did not set out to become America’s first female Army colonel. Her name, “Oveta,” is a Cherokee word meaning “forget.” And yet, she was destined to live a life of extraordinary accomplishments.
 
Oveta’s father, Ike Culp, was an attorney and a member of the Texas legislature. On her way home from school, Oveta would stop by her father’s law office. By the age of ten, she had read the entire Congressional Record. Politicians stopping by their house for dinner would ask the young Oveta if she was going to be a lawyer like her daddy when she grew up.
 
Ike Culp recognized his daughter’s encyclopedic mind and encouraged her to step out into the world. When she was 16, he pulled her out of high school and took her with him to Austin to attend the legislative sessions, figuring this would be a better education than she would get at high school in Killeen. Ike was right.
 
By the time she was 20, Oveta was appointed to be the Parliamentarian of the legislature, the youngest person to do so at the time. The year was 1925, and Texas women received the right to vote only six years earlier, when Governor William P. Hobby signed the Suffrage Bill on February 5, 1919.  Oveta actually attended classes at the University of Texas law school, but because women weren’t allowed to enroll in the law school, she was unable to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
 
Moving to Houston in 1930, Oveta took a job in the circulation department of The Houston Post-Dispatch, now owned by the former Governor Hobby. The two met, fell in love, and were married in 1931. Together, they worked hard to increase their media holdings in Houston. In 1940, while in Washington, D.C. to attend meetings with the Federal Communications Commission, Oveta met General Surles, who was in charge of setting up the Women’s Interest Section in the War Department’s Bureau of Public Relations. The General had been looking for a woman to run the Bureau, and thought Oveta would be a good candidate for the job.
 
She turned him down, explaining that she was running a major newspaper with her husband, and had two small children at home who needed her. When word got back to the Govenor that Oveta  had been offered the position, her urged her to take it, and told her not to worry, he would take care of things at home. He said that when your country calls you to do something, it is your duty to do it. Six months later, Oveta arrived in Washington, D.C., to run the Bureau, for the generous salary of $1 a year.
 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted the war-time draft, and the Army was getting 10,000 letters a day from women all over the country, asking what was the Army doing with their husbands and sons, what were they feeding them, who was going to care for their clothes? Oveta drafted a letter to send to these women as part of her duties. One of the most frequent questions she got was, “How was the food?” to which she replied, “It’s getting better all the time.” (Shire 1997, 11)
 
Soon it became clear to the Army that they were running out of manpower, even with all the men called up for duty, and they needed to mobilize women, as well. General Surles tapped Oveta again, asking her to draw up a plan for a women’s Army corps. Oveta travelled to France and England to see what those countries were doing, came back, and designed a plan, which she gave the General.  
 
Once the plan was complete and submitted, Oveta was released to go home
for the winter holidays. On Sunday, December 7, 1941, her flight to Houston
included a detour to Chicago, Illinois, so she could give a speech…on the 
subject of women’s roles in the not-yet-begun war. Getting off the airplane,
reporters met her with the news that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl
Harbor.
 
Oveta went ahead with her speech, which was inspired; General Marshall
later said, “Oveta Hobby made the nation’s first declaration of war that day.”
 
The speech done, Oveta rushed to the telephone and called her husband.
“Governor, the Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbor, and all hell is 
breaking loose across the country!” 
 
“Oveta,” Governor said, “I know you’ve had this trip home planned 
for awhile, but your country is more important. I’ll take care of this 
family. You turn around and go back to Washington and do what you
need to do.” 
 
Oveta hung up the phone, relieved. This was the day she’d anticipated for
months, and she knew her place was in Washington, D.C., where she could
oversee all the plans and preparations for the women’s army that she’d spent
the last months developing.  (Johnston 1991, 337)
 
Oveta spent the previous seven months putting together a plan for a women’s army, and a bill had been introduced in Congress authorizing such an entity on May 28, 1941, but it remained stalled there. In the meantime, General Marshall asked Oveta to give him a list of names of possible candidates to run the new women’s army corps she designed. She presented him with a list of nine names, which he looked over, then turned face down on his desk. 
 
“Oveta,” General Marshall said, “I’d rather you took the job.”
 
“General, I cannot,” she told him. 
 
But when Oveta discussed it with her husband, he said she could and should
do it.  (Johnston 1991, 338)
 
She finally agreed and at age 37, became the first Director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. On May 14, 1942, nearly a year after it was introduced, the Senate approved Public Law 554, authorizing the establishment of a Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps for Service with the Army of the United States. President Roosevelt signed the bill into law the next day.
 
The same day FDR signed the bill, Oveta was sworn in, wearing a dress, a fancy hat and white gloves because the women’s military uniforms had yet to be designed. Oveta’s office was tasked with not only designing the uniforms, but also the barracks the women would use. The first women were allowed to enlist on May 27, 1942.
 
The Army anticipated 250 women would apply in Washington, D.C., three times that number applied. Twice during the day, the officials ran out of application blanks. By the end of the day, 13,208 women from all over the country filled out applications to join the corps. 
 
Oveta’s uniform arrived a month later. She put it on and reported to the chief of staff, where her eagles were pinned on her uniform and she was directed to wear.  The Army only gave her one uniform initially, which she wore all across the country to recruiting events. Each night, she washed her khakis. She carried an electric fan and an iron so she could wash and dry her uniform and wear it again the next day. 
 
The first 440 women Army recruits arrived at Fort Des Moines in Iowa on July 20, 1942 to attend the WAAC’s first officer candidate class. Oveta wanted to attend the class, too, but Army regulations forbade her from doing so. Later she said, “I never did learn to salute properly or master the thirty-inch stride.” Even though the recruits were segregated, Oveta made sure that black women troops had black female officers, so that they, too, could have leadership opportunities, as well as the white female officers. 
 
Oveta fought every inch of the way for her troops. When Oveta requested barracks for her troops, the Army engineers replied they worked only for the Army and the WAACS weren’t part of the Army. So Oveta and her lieutenants drew up the barracks plans. On the WAAC’s first payday, the comptroller general’s office refused to pay the WAAC women doctors. 
 
The comptroller was only authorized to pay ‘persons serving as doctors
In the military service, and women are not persons.’ Secretary of War Stimson had to make a rush trip to Capitol Hill for a special act of Congress to enable Director Hobby to pay her physicians. (Johnston 1991, 338)
 
Oveta was called to oversee all parts of her troops’ lives. When she found out that some of the WAACs were going to be dishonorably discharged for “pregnancy without permission” (unmarried women getting pregnant), she argued that male soldiers should get the same treatment and also suffer the same loss of rights and pay. As a result, these regulations were changed and the women were instead given medical treatment and honorable discharges. (Fernea and Duncan 1977, 21)
 
In 1943, the women’s role became so indispensable that the word “Auxiliary” was removed from the 
name and the Corps received full Army status. On July 5, 1943, Oveta Culp Hobby was promoted to the rank of Colonel and director of the Women’s Army Corps. She became the first woman colonel in the history of the U.S. military service.  (Winegarten 2014)
 
When Oveta first submitted her design for a women’s army, she identified fifty-four jobs that women were qualified to perform in the Army. “By 1945, that original list had expanded to 239 jobs, ranging from riveters, interpreters, balloon-gas chemists, surveyors, and boiler inspectors in such far-flung places as India, North Africa and Egypt.” (Lasher and Bentley 1980, 76) “By April 1945, the WACs had recruited over 99,000 women, with WACs qualifying for 406 of the 628 military occupations.” (Shire 1997, 58)
 
On January 8, 1945, Oveta was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary of Way Henry L. Stimson for distinguished service. Colonel Hobby was the first woman in the history of the military to receive this medal. By July 1945, Oveta was ill and exhausted. Working 12-to-15 hour days non-stop for two years took its toll on the 40-year old woman, and she requested permission to resign.
 
She went to bid farewell to General Marshall and he said to her, “When you’re rested, write a memorandum to the file on the utilization of women power.” 
 
She smiled at him and said, “General, I’ll write the memo if you tell me to, but if you need to recruit women in such numbers again, the conditions will be different! You have no idea what is going to happen in the woman power field as a result of this war, because of women in the armed services and in the civilian jobs that they took during the war.” (Lasher and Bentley 1980, 76)
 
Oveta continued to break new ground for women in her life. General Eisenhower was so impressed with the WAC and Oveta’s administrative abilities, that when he became president, he appointed her to his cabinet, to the role which eventually became Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the department we know today as the Department of Health and Human Services. With this presidential cabinet-level appointment, Oveta became only the second woman in the US to hold a cabinet-level position.
 
And what of those 99,000 women who joined the Women’s Army Corps? After World War II, they returned to civilian life and many were forced to resign from the jobs they held so that the returning male soldiers would have work. But these women did not return to home and hearth and stay there. Having tasted the opportunity to contribute to their country during wartime, they wanted to continue these efforts. Many former WACs encouraged their daughters to go to college in the early 1960s, and many of the WACs themselves earned college degrees, helping start the feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s.  
 
For more information about this fascinating woman, read “Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist,” released in April 2014 from UT Press. Debra Winegarten lives in Austin, Texas and teaches at South University. She is available for school visits to recount Oveta’s fascinating story and can be reached at sociosight@aol.com. 

 

Featured Lesson

As you plan instruction on Texas in the 20th Century, make sure to include, Notable Texans in the 20th Century, a lesson plan from the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. This lesson plan, for both 4th and 7th grade students, includes primary source videos, so students can see and hear these notable Texans. The lesson also includes secondary source information, independent practice activities, along with critical thinking questions. Denton Cooley, Michael DeBakey, Horton Foote, J. Frank Dobie, Sam Rayburn, Henry B. Gonzales, Oveta Culp Hobby, Barbara Jordan, and Lyndon B. Johnson, are some of the Texans included. 
 

Texas History News

Several opportunities for Texas history educators and students are available or are on the near horizon:

The University of Texas at Austin is offering six - four day, AP Summer Institutes for social studies teachers at the Thompson Conference Center on the UT main campus. Institutes begin on June 8th and will continue until July 30, 2015. Participants will earn 30 credit hours of training. Visit TeachingTexas.org for additional information. 
 
 
Join the Institute of Texan Cultures for the Annual Texas Folk life Festival, June 13-14, 2015.  Experience the delicious cuisine, traditional dances, fine-crafted keepsakes, storytelling, and music of more than 40 ethnic groups at the biggest three-day celebration in Texas. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org. 
 
The Texas Council on Economic Education is proud to present the TCEE Smarter Texas Conference. This event will be held on June 18-19, 2015 at the Hotel Contessa on the San Antonio Riverwalk. K-12 educators will share ideas and learn teaching methods which will result in greater student understanding and success in personal financial literacy, economics, and entrepreneurship. Visit TeachingTexas.org for more information.
 
 
The Bullock Texas State History Museum would like to invite you to view a new special exhibit, And still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversantion, June 19, 2015 through August 30, 2015. This exhibit features works by contemporary artists from the Women of Color Quilters Network, and narrates nearly four centuries of African American history from 1619 through today. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
Join Law-Related Education at one of four two day teacher workshops, Being an American: Exploring the Ideals that Unite Us. This 12 credit hour workshop is for any secondary teacher who would like to explore materials which show the significance of America’s founding and civic values. Workshops will be held over the summer, in Victoria, Lubbock, and San Angelo. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
 
Join the East Texas Historical Association for their annual New Deal Symposium. This year, the event will be held at Texas Wesleyan University, June 27, 2015, and will feature a keynote presentation from Dr. Brenda Matthews and Dr. Elizabeth Alexander both of Texas Wesleyan University. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org. 
 
The Texas General Land Office, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, and Austin ISD are joining forces to provide Totally Texas Immersion, a staff development workshop for new Texas history teachers, June 23-24, 2015. This content-driven workshop will prepare you for a full year of teaching our state history and geography. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
 
Law-Related Education would like to invite you to attend an Institute on the Founding Documents. Though these institutes are designed for US government and history teachers, there is a correlation to the Texas history TEKS. Institutes will be held over the summer in the Amarillo and Allen areas. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
Join the Dallas Holocaust Museum for a special training in media, Curriculum on the Holocaust, August 3-4, 2015. This award-winning curriculum includes everything educators need to teach the complex issues of the Holocaust to today’s students, including primary sources, visual history testimony, modular curriculum design and a comprehensive web site. For more information, visit TeachingTexas.org.
 
 
Join the Old Red Museum and the Region 10 Education Service Center for A Conference on Texas, the United States, and World History, on September 19, 2015. This event will feature Keynote Speaker, Former US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Caroline Brettell, Gregg Cantrell, Neil Foley, Kyle Walker, James F. Hollifield, and Gary Freeman. For additional information, visit TeachingTexas.org. 
 

Texas Insights is a publication of the Texas State Historical Association
in cooperation with the University of North Texas.

Texas State Historical Association
1155 Union Circle #311580
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Stephen Cure - Editor
JoNeita Kelly- Associate Editor  


 

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