In 1977, the first project of Leadership Women, Inc. (formerly Women’s Resources) was the Women in Texas Politics project. As grassroots organizers and political volunteers, campaign managers and elected officials, the founders of Leadership Women wanted a document to showcase the involvement of women in politics across the state.
The second project taken on by Leadership Women, Inc. was the Texas Women’s History Project. In 1976, Ann Richards, mother of four, took her children to the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio Texas. At the end, when asked how she liked it, one daughter responded, “Okay, but where were the women?”
The lack of women in any significant roles anywhere was stunning to Ann and she knew just where to take her anger into action. With her friends at Leadership Women, Inc., it was time, quite literally, to rewrite history.
The resulting project is widely recognized as a seminal moment in American women’s history development. By 1980, they had researched across Texas, gathering a major body of primary research materials and artifacts, and premiered an exhibit at the Institute of Texan Cultures that garnered national attention and was seen by more than 2 million people when it traveled the state. In the years since, LW has also helped in the acquisition of valuable women’s papers and oral history research and produced and disseminated supplemental videos and teachers’ guides statewide.
The Texas Women’s History Project was spearheaded by Mary Beth Rogers, who served as the project director, Ruthe Winegarten, Ellen Temple, Chula Reynolds and others.
In 1981, Texas Women – A Celebration of History was published.
For more information, check out Texas Women’s History Project.