Sunday, January 4, 2015

100 Things I Want to Tell My Children and Grandchildren: #10

In 1987 I instigated the research and writing of the history of Austin women. On January 15, 2015, I will lead a committee of women leaders to begin work to revive and update that history.

Twenty-seven years ago, as a member of the Austin Commission for Women, I instigated and chaired a project to research the history of Austin women on the occasion of the 150th birthday of Austin. That history, written by well-known historians Ruthe Winegarten and Janet Humphrey, and funded by a variety of Austin businesses, included an extensive and beautiful display featuring approximately 100 women who built Austin, along with brief captions explaining their involvement and contributions. This history was officially presented at a ceremony in the Texas Capitol rotunda. Shannon Sedwick of Esther’s Follies, and a group of other Austin actors dressed in period costume, presented live vignettes of the women featured in the history exhibit. Mayor Lee Cooke accepted the history on behalf of Austin citizens. The ceremony was well attended with standing room only.

Following the presentation, the history exhibit made the rounds at a number of events and at several schools during Women’s History Month (March) and was eventually housed at the Austin History Center where it is currently stored.  

On January 15 the Austin History Center Staff, a group of interested Austin women, and myself will meet to unearth that long-ago researched history, to bring those women back to life, and to document the additional women who have continued to help make Austin a unique and vital community.  We will also be working to identify the best format for presenting this old and new information, such as a website and/or a printed book. 

As a life-long historian, my mother would be proud of my efforts on this project, and I hope you are too.

To Austin Women: If you would like to be involved in the project to restore and update the history of Austin women, please email me at

This photo of the 1986-87 Austin Commission for Women was taken following the ceremony, and includes (top row r-l) Ann Kitchens, Barbara Forman, Peggy Vasquez, Margaret Glendinning, SueAnn Wade-Crouse, Beverly Larkam, Gloria Hill Black, (bottom row r-l) Jean Zurow, Kay Keesee, and Pat Gamboa.


  1. What a wonderful photo SueAnn! I was a Member, City of Austin Commission for Women (1978-1980) along with Aralyn Hughes and other rabble-rousers. I'd enjoy being a part of adding to the history so let me know how you intend to proceed in collecting information. Thank you for doing this.
    Happy New Year, Debby

  2. Thank you for responding Debby. You are welcome to join us at the Jan. 15, 1 pm meeting with Austin History Center if you are available. This initial meeting will be to assess the status of the previous study/project, and to discuss where to go from here. I'd love to have your very smart head in the room if you can make it. Happy 2015 to you as well.

  3. Wonderful stuff, Aunt Sue!!! You are following in your mother's (my grandmother's) footsteps with this project. I'll always be proud of her work to collect and publish historical accounts in West Texas. I'm very proud of you for this undertaking as well. Brava! Jane (Morgan Clark)

  4. Thank you Jane. Since it really goes against my nature to "stick myself out there," it sometimes feels like mom is controlling me from the grave. And although I know this is a good thing, I dread the mechanics. I am just committed to the outcome.

    In the words of Mongo (from the movie "Blazing Saddles") I am but "a pawn in the game of life."