The University of North Texas will become the new
home of the Texas State Historical Association,
which furthers the appreciation, understanding and teaching of
the history of the state. The agreement between UNT and TSHA is
pending ongoing negotiations to move the organization to UNT's
"I am personally pleased that the Texas State Historical Association
Board recognized the opportunities for the organization to expand
its reach by joining forces with the UNT faculty," says UNT President Gretchen
Bataille. "UNT has long recognized the importance of Texas
history and we have built a strong foundation of faculty and library
resources that will support the mission of TSHA."
TSHA was founded on March 2, 1897, the 61st anniversary of the
Texas Declaration of Independence, and is considered in academic
circles as the nation's most dynamic regional history organization
as well as Texas' oldest such organization. Its office was previously
located at the University of Texas at Austin. TSHA had considered
various relocation options across the state, including several
institutions of higher learning.
Gayle W. Strange, chair of the UNT
System Board of Regents, says the partnership between
one of Texas' greatest universities and most active historical
associations will serve the future of education in Texas well.
"UNT students, the North Texas communities and the entire state
will benefit from this new collaboration, as together UNT and the
association continue the work of preserving and strengthening Texas'
heritage," she says.
UNT and TSHA representatives met in late December to discuss centrally
located office space, substantial UNT staff support and access
to the university library, computer support and university publishing
UNT officials point out that the association brings with it:
- an established staff;
- a tradition of sponsoring lectures, conferences and other historical
- a 110-year tradition of publishing the Southwestern Historical
Quarterly and scores of books. The books include the popular
Handbook of Texas, a comprehensive encyclopedia of Texas geography,
history and historical persons.
- Web resources, including The Handbook of Texas Online, and
the Digital Gateway to Texas History, as well as a commitment
to digitize the vast content of its publications; and
- a growing fund to establish an endowed "TSHA Chair in Texas
History," which would reside in UNT's Department of History.
UNT's Department of
History has the strongest faculty research focus on
Texas history at any university in the state, measured by the
more than 25 books that faculty members have written or edited.
In addition to faculty strength, UNT brings numerous assets to
the partnership with TSHA, such as:
- extensive library holdings, including government documents
and historical archives;
- digitization capabilities in the UNT Libraries' Digital Projects
- publishing opportunities with UNT Press, which has Texas history
as one of its core thematic areas. The UNT Press was founded
by Fran Vick, who is the incoming president of TSHA.
UNT faculty involvement in TSHA is already robust. UNT historians
with strong ties to TSHA, including designations as "TSHA Fellows," include:
Randolph "Mike" Campbell, Regents Professor of
history. A past president of TSHA, Campbell is the author of several
volumes on Texas history and is the current editor of SWHQ.
Richard B. McCaslin, professor of history. McCaslin
is the author of At the Heart of Texas: One Hundred Years of the
Texas State Historical Association, 1897-1997, among other scholarly
Donald E. Chipman, professor emeritus of history
and a scholar of Texas under Spanish rule. Chipman, who served
on the UNT faculty for 38 years, is a former editor of The New
Handbook of Texas, which the TSHA published in 1996 as an update
to its original handbook. He is also a current SWHQ editorial board
F. Todd Smith, professor of history and an expert
on indigenous peoples of Texas. Smith is also a current SWHQ editorial
Other UNT specialists in Texas history include Richard
G. Lowe, Regents Professor of history; Elizabeth
Hayes Turner, associate professor of history, and Roberto
Calderon, associate professor of history.
Campbell, whose involvement with TSHA dates back to the time he
arrived at UNT more than 40 years ago, says he is delighted at
the possibility of uniting UNT and TSHA expertise and missions.
"The genius of TSHA as an organization is the way it brings together
academics and non-academics in support of Texas history," he says.
He anticipates that the addition of TSHA to the campus, where
the Department of History is already very active in providing guest
speakers and other programs to students, faculty, staff members
and the general public, will result in an even greater emphasis
on UNT's broad educational mission in the community and the state.
Michael Monticino, associate dean in UNT's College
of Arts and Sciences, which houses the Department
of History, coordinated UNT's efforts to bring TSHA
to the Denton campus.
"The partnership between these two major Texas history powerhouses,
whose resources and capabilities complement each other so well
and whose missions of research, teaching and outreach are parallel,
has the potential to be much more than the sum of its parts," Monticino
TSHA currently has a membership of approximately 2,200 scholars
and history enthusiasts, including a significant number who reside
in the Denton/Dallas-Fort Worth area.
J. Frank de la Teja, association president and
Texas State Historian, says TSHA members are gratified by the interest
that Texas' institutions of higher learning have shown in TSHA.
"As the foremost history association in Texas, TSHA looks forward
to forming a strong partnership with UNT, as the association embarks
on its second century of serving to preserve and promote the state's
history to all Texans," he says.
UNT News Service Press Release
Nancy Kolsti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.