The Real Role of Women in the War for Texas
by Mary L. Scheer, editor
Denton, Tx.: University of North Texas Press, 2012. Pp. x, 244.
Illus., notes, index. $24.95. ISBN: 1574414690
In her introduction, Prof. Scheer (Lamar University), notes, firstly, that the short duration of the Texas Revolution left “intact a patriarchal, gendered society” and, secondly, that, the occasional special “heroine” aside, until about 1970, the contributions and experiences of women in the war was largely marginalized. She then gives us eight essays by various scholars, including herself, that explore particular aspects of women during the war.
Four essays take an overview of the experiences of women from each of the principal ethnic groups in Texas: Native Americans, Tejanas (Hispanic women), Anglo-Americans, and African-Americans. There follow essays on women at the Alamo, in the “Runaway Scrape,” and at the Battle of San Jacinto. The book closes with a thoughtful essay on “Women and the Texas Revolution in Myth and History.”
The book does have some failings. The essay on Tejanas looks only at women from families and communities that opposed the Revolution, whereas many Tejano families supported the war. In addition, a few essays are sometimes rather coy (e.g., “black servants”), and the book naturally neglects the longer term implications of the accepted Texas foundation myth that not only excluded women, but also Tejanos, blacks, and Indians, male as well as female. Given the complexity of the subject, these do not mar the essential value of the book.
Winner of the “Liz Carpenter Award for Research in the History of Women” from the Texas State Historical Association, Women and the Texas Revolution is a valuable read for those interested in Texas history or the role of women in American society.