UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008 Page: 17
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Su n t c d u I r e s ' a r c h
During the past two decades, UNT's
history faculty members have published
more than 20 books about Texas history, as
well as some 50 articles and book chapters.
Their subjects include everything from Texas'
Native American populations to slavery
and woman suffrage.
lill. (G lAIT 11.I IAN IN(i
Like several of the UNT faculty
members, McCaslin didn't originally plan
to research Texas history. A native of Miss-
issippi, he entered UT-Austin for a doctoral
degree in Latin American history. He was
without a mentor there until he met L. Tuffly
Ellis, then the director of TSHA.
"I had always been interested in Texas
history," McCaslin says. "Then, Tuffly became
my dissertation advisor. I soon discovered
that I had been adopted by the perfect
mentor, and he was connected to this great
group of people who loved Texas as much
as I had grown to love my adopted state."
For his dissertation, McCaslin
researched the hanging of Union supporters
in Gainesville in 1862. He learned about it
from a TSHA reprint of an 1885 personal
account of the event.
McCaslin turned his dissertation into
Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville,
Texas, 1862. The book received TSHA's
Tullis Memorial Prize, which is given to the
best book about Texas, and a Certificate of
Commendation from the American
Association of State and Local History.
"The hanging was big news through
about 1870. Then it was quickly forgotten
in Texans' big rush to leave the Civil War
behind," McCaslin says.
Si A\I KY IN 11X.\S
Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, Regents
Professor of history, started his career by
researching Southern history, particularly
Virginia's history. After coming to UNT,
he learned that little had been written
about slavery in Texas.
"The cotton industry couldn't have
developed without slave labor. It was key to
Texas' emergence as an agricultural economy,"
Campbell is the author of An Empire
for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas,
1821-1865. The book is regularly used in
university history courses around the state
and received the Tullis Memorial Prize and
several other awards.
The "empire for slavery" hadn't even
begun to reach its potential in Texas by the
end of the Civil War, Campbell says. Still, he
adds, "the slave population in Texas grew
faster than the free population" in a decade.
"The census counted more than
182,000 slaves in 1860," he says.
I(N OluI) , U ,. I.,
F. Todd Smith, professor of history,
researches another population in Texas history
that previously had been ignored - Native
American tribes, particularly the Caddos
and Wichitas. He has published four books
about the tribes.
The Caddos, who lived in what is now
East Texas, called their friends "Tejas," and
the Spanish began to call them by that
name, Smith says.
"Eventually, the whole province was
called 'Tejas,' which became 'Texas'" he says.
He notes that many, current Texas cities and
lakes, including Waco, Tawakoni and
Comanche, have Native American names.
Elizabeth Hayes Turner, associate
professor of history, uncovered the story of
woman suffrage in Texas in her book,
Women, Culture and Community: Religion and
Reform in Galveston, 1880-1920, another
Tullis Memorial Prize winner.
Although she has a master's degree in
Fran Vick, second from right, is president of the Texas State Historical Asso-
ciation and former UNT Press director. Welcoming the association to campus
this fall are TSHA fellows and UNT history faculty, from left, Donald Chipman,
.E Todd Smith, Richard B. McCaslin and Randolph "Mike" Campbell.
European history, she began researching the
topic as a doctoral student.
"I became fascinated with the South
while teaching in North Carolina, and
when I went to Rice, I decided to study
Southern women after the Civil War. My
advisor suggested Galveston as a case
study," she says.
Turner now hopes to write a book about
Texas' observance of Juneteenth, the day
in 1865 that Union Gen. Gordon Granger
arrived in Galveston to take possession of
Texas and enforce the emancipation of
"Many children's books have been
written about Juneteenth, but not a scholarly
monograph," she says.
.\ FuaL llisoity
This focus on little-known areas and
figures in Texas history, now a hallmark of
UNT's scholarly activity, continues with
new publications. McCaslin's book on John
S. "Rip" Ford, a Texas Ranger and partici-
pant in the last battle of the Civil War near
Brownsville, will be published in 2009.
While Ford isn't a "larger-than-life
Texas hero" like Sam Houston, he is "there
at very interesting moments in history
that define what Texas was going to be,"
"He came from humble origins," he
says, noting that during one Texas Ranger
campaign against the Comanches, Ford had
his father drive a wagon for him.
"I think that people may connect better
with someone like Ford, who actually gets
in lots of trouble. You look at him and think,
'I know people like that,'" he says.
McCaslin says that just as all areas of
Ford's life deserve notice - not just his
Texas Ranger exploits - all eras of Texas
history should be preserved, not just the
Smith agrees: "The history of Texas
isn't just Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston
and LBJ, but a whole wide group of
different peoples." U
f'or uincrnation about Cx\as history books by
UNT faculty, visit vwww.unt.edu/untresearch.
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008, periodical, 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/m1/17/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.