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The First Texas News Barons

The First Texas News Barons Contact: Alison Beck, Associate Director
Center for American History
Phone: (512) 495-4515
Fax: (512) 495-4542

Date: November 15, 2005

The First Texas News Barons by Dr. Patrick Cox is the newest publication in the Focus on American History Series, Center for American History (CAH), University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Don Carleton, CAH Director, serves as the Series Editor.  The University of Texas Press released the publication on November 1, 2005.

This historical study explores and analyzes the role that newspaper publishers played in transforming Texas into a modern state. By promoting expanded industrialization and urbanization, as well as a more modern image of Texas as a Southwestern, rather than Southern, state, news barons in the early decades of the twentieth century laid the groundwork for the enormous economic growth and social changes that followed World War II. Yet their contribution to the modernization of Texas is largely unrecognized.

This book investigates how newspaper owners such as A. H. Belo and George B. Dealey of the Dallas Morning News, Edwin Kiest of the Dallas Times Herald, William P. Hobby and Oveta Culp Hobby of the Houston Post, Jesse H. Jones and Marcellus Foster of the Houston Chronicle, and Amon G. Carter Sr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram paved the way for the modern state of Texas. 

Dr. Cox explores how these news barons identified the needs of the state and set out to attract the private investors and public funding that would boost the state's civic and military infrastructure, oil and gas industries, real estate market, and agricultural production. He shows how newspaper owners used events such as the Texas Centennial to promote tourism and create a uniquely Texan identity for the state. To balance the record, Cox also demonstrates that the news barons downplayed the interests of significant groups of Texans, including minorities, the poor and underemployed, union members, and a majority of women.

Dr. Patrick Cox is Assistant Director of the Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is responsible for the Center's Congressional History Collection, the Institute for American News Media History, the Sam Rayburn Museum in Bonham, Texas, and the John Nance Garner Museum in Uvalde, Texas. His previous books include the award-winning Ralph W. Yarborough, the People's Senator and (as coeditor) Profiles in Power: Twentieth-Century Texans in Washington, New Edition.

The First Texas News Barons is available for purchase through the
University of Texas Press (1-800-252-3206) and at online and national bookstores.