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Scheer edits book on women’s role in Texas Revolution

scheerLamar University’s Mary Scheer breaks ground with a new book she has edited: “Women and the Texas Revolution.”

“While there is wide scholarship on the Texas Revolution, there is no comparable volume on the role of women during that conflict,” according to her publisher, UNT Press.

Scheer is associate professor and chair in Lamar’s Department of History.

“What I hoped to accomplish was to bring together various experts who had a deeper knowledge of particular women’s groups to assess the effect of the Texas Revolution on women,” Scheer said. “Previous efforts only briefly mention women in the narrative, so I wanted to place women as central to the story, rather than on the periphery.”

According to the publisher: “By placing women at the center of the Texas Revolution, this volume reframes the historical narrative and asks different questions . . . Was the Texas Revolution ‘revolutionary’ for women?’”

While women patriotically supported and participated in the war effort, the experience – in terms of benefits and long-term positive change – was far from revolutionary for Texas women, Scheer said.

The book has earned praise from historians and authors.

“‘Women in the Texas Revolution’ is a fresh and valuable addition to works on the Revolution and on women in 19th-century Texas,” wrote Paula Marks, author of “Handle to the Spindle” and “Precious Dust.” “It is a serious and multifaceted treatment of a topic that has come in for very little scholarly study.”

James Haley, author of “Sam Houston” and “Passionate Nation,” wrote: “The gathering of scholars in this book is formidable. They have produced a well-done series of well-documented vignettes of women in the revolutionary period, whether defined by ethnicity, as in African-American, or by fate, as in Alamo survivors or participants in the Runaway Scrape.”

Most of the many works on the Texas Revolution include women briefly in the narrative, such as Emily Austin, Suzanna Dickinson and Emily Morgan West (the Yellow Rose), but not as principal participants, according to the publisher. “Women in the Texas Revolution” explores these women in much more depth, in addition to covering the women and children who fled Santa Anna’s troops in the Runaway Scrape and examining the roles and issues facing Native American, black and Hispanic women of the time.

A Lamar faculty member since 2002, Scheer is the author of “The Foundations of Texan Philanthropy” and the co-editor, with John Storey, of “Twentieth-Century Texas: A Social and Cultural History.” She is a former Fulbright Scholar to Germany whose research interests include Texas, Women and 20th-century social history.”