In the spring of 1921, West Texas State Normal College historian Hattie M. Anderson founded the first professional historical association in the Texas Panhandle, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society (PPHS). Inspired by what was then considered to be cutting-edge historical theory, Anderson and her colleagues set out to collect historical artifacts as well as to record interviews with the last of the Panhandle's generation of nineteenth-century pioneer ranchers, in order to ensure that local lessons of democracy, self-reliance, and rugged individualism be remembered by future generations. PPHS efforts at historical preservation were so successful that they culminated with the opening of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in 1933, one of the first (and now, the biggest) history museums in the state. This presentation traces the early work of the PPHS from 1921 through U.S. entry into World War Two, in order to examine the role of western history and the preservation of historic artifacts in the shaping of regional identity in the Texas Panhandle.
Meet Tim Bowman
Tim Bowman is professor of history and head of the Department of History at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. He is the author of Blood Oranges: Colonialism and Agriculture in the South Texas Borderlands (Texas A&M University Press, 2016), and You Will Never Be One of Us: A Teacher, a Texas Town, and the Rural Roots of Radical Conservatism (University of Oklahoma Press, 2022), and numerous articles and book chapters. He is co-author, with Marty Kuhlman, of a forthcoming book, tentatively titled The People's Museum: A History of the PPHM, from which this presentation is based.