San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 8th, 2010
Texas State professor selected to board of Humanities Texas

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Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Texas State, Jesus F. de la Teja, was the first officially appointed Texas State Historian.

STAFF REPORT

Jesus F. de la Teja, professor and chair of the Department of History at Texas State, was recently unanimously selected by Humanities Texas to serve on its board of directors.

“I’m honored to be asked,” De la Teja said. “There are people there I highly respect. It encourages me that Humanities Texas values the field I represent.”

Humanities Texas, formerly the Texas Council for the Humanities, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The organization conducts and supports public programs in literature, philosophy, history and other disciplines of the humanties.

De la Teja’s areas of interest and expertise focus on the northeastern frontier of Spanish colonial Mexico, but his knowledge of Texas history encompasses a broad area and an even broader expanse of time. He is an expert on the changing roles of Texas and Mexico from the 1600s to the present day.

De la Teja believes that his current focus is particularly significant today, due to the increasing Hispanic representation in the state and that his studies can contribute to Humanities Texas’ goals of promoting the humanities statewide.

Said De le Teja, “I believe I bring a perspective on early Texas history that is increasingly relevant to the shifting demographics of the state.”

De la Teja’s distinguished career certainly carries perspective.

De la Teja was the first official State Historian of Texas, appointed by Governor Rick Perry and serving from 2007-2009.

When he was a student at the University of Texas, he was recommended and retained as as a research assistant to James Michener who, at the time, was writing his historical novel, Texas.

He is also the author of several books, including San Antonio de Béxar: A Community on New Spain’s Northern Frontier.  He is the co-author of Texas: Crossroads of North America, a college-level survey of the state’s history.

De la Teja has also served as a consultant for the development of the Texas State History Museum and serves as a book review editor for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly.

Saturday, De la Teja was one of the speakers at the Save Texas History Symposium in Austin, a program sponsored by a grant from Humanities Texas.  His topic was “The Settlement of Spanish and Mexican Texas.”

The Texas General Land Office Save History program is a statewide initiative to rally public support and funding for the preservation of historic maps and documents first created through the land office formed by San Houston.

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