Historical Pageants: A Cornerstone of Texas Musical History

Alec Head, Reference Librarian

Pageants depicting events of historical significance to Texas are a longstanding tradition. These performances, accompanied by music and epic reenactments of battles, romances, triumphs, and tragedies span decades, serving as both entertainment and education for new generations of Texans.

Gambill, Birdie Brenholtz, We are Texas: a Texas pageant, c1936. TSLAC-Main.
Green, Paul, Paul Green’s Texas; a musical romance of Panhandle history, 1973. TSLAC-Main.

The images below show that the Texas Federation of Music Clubs hosted multiple such pageants over the years, including a 1937 performance of “Legend of the Blue Bonnet” and a 1939 staging of “Austin’s Conquest of a Century.”

Scrapbook, Wednesday Morning Music Club, 1934-1941. Minnie Sneed Wilcox Collection, 1959/059. View in the TDA: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/SO_5833a507-b1b4-4245-b9f3-30479db4f6c1/
Scrapbook,Wednesday Morning Music Club, 1934-1941. Minnie Sneed Wilcox Collection, 1959/059. View in the TDA: https://tsl.access.preservica.com/uncategorized/SO_5833a507-b1b4-4245-b9f3-30479db4f6c1/

Over time, these pageants would change their mediums in an effort to reach as many Texans as possible, as seen in the 1985 program described below. In it, the 1938 epic pageant “The Fort Griffin Fandangle” performed in Albany, Texas, makes the jump to the small screen, broadcasting via public access television. This pageant is hosted in Albany to this day.

Notes on the history of the Capitol. Allen McCree Papers, 2022/030-04.
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