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.

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) holds in its collections a number of scripts, playbills, and programs from historical pageants held across the state. Many of these items are currently on display in the Reference Reading Room. Other similar items held by TSLAC can be identified and located by searching our library catalog.

More information about our location and hours can be found on our “Visit Us” webpage. For questions about TSLAC’s collections, please contact our reference staff at ref@tsl.texas.gov or 512-563-5455.

Title

Author

Call Number

Collection

We are Texas

Gambill, Birdie

791.6 G143W

Main

Texas through the ages: a Texas pageant with characteristic scenes and dances to represent the different periods of Texas history

Crider, Mary Elizabeth

791.6 C867t

Main

“Following the lone star”; a pageant of Texas independence, written for the school children of Texas

Lee, Rebecca Smith

791.6 L515f

Main

A Pageant of Texas

Johnston, Mable Kline

791.6 J645p

Main

I Sing the Song El Paso

Aniversario del Paso, ‘73

791.624 AN55I

Main

Paul Green’s Texas; a musical romance of Panhandle history, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, souvenir program

Green, Paul

791.624 P281 1973 OVER-T

Main

Pageants and plays of pioneers: commemorating the centennial of Texas

Dicket, Jeston

792 D559p

Main

The Fandangle: a people’s theatre

Nail, Robert E.

792.09764 N143F

Main

Houston in song and verse

Fuermann, George

808.81 H8183

Main

The Texas Blue Bonnet under six flags: a pageant

Dunn, A. C.

810 D922t

Main

Texas stories for reading and acting

Dill, Minnie G.

812 D58t

Main

Liberty for Texas; a play in three acts

Donecker, Frances

812 D716t

Main

Texas plays and pageants for the elementary and junior high grades

Donecker, Frances

812 D717t

Main

The guardian genius: an episode from the life of Mirabeau B. Lamar

Not identified

812 G931

Main

Texas, the land of the strong: a play in six episodes

Moon, Ilanon

812 M778t

Main

A Stephen F. Austin memorial pageant in five episodes

Not identified

812 ST43

Main

A cloud of witnesses; the drama of the Alamo

Yelvington, Ramsey

812 Y38C

Main

Texas Centennial Pageant entitled “Texas Under Six Flags”

Bentley, Ed R.

812.52 T312cp

Main

Westward the course of empire; the history of Texas from exploration to annexation in a sequence of one act plays

Griffith, Mary Matlock

822 G875 1925

Main

The Pioneer Theatre of Texas presents the second annual production in a ten-year cycle of historic dramas: “Gran Quivira”: in the historic village of Prairieville, Kaufman County, Texas

S. N. J.

822 P659g

Main

Dramas of daring deeds depicting Texas history

Roselle, Bessie Lee Dickey

822 R722D

Main

The lone star: a symphonic drama of the Texas struggle for independence Texas sesquicentennial

Green, Paul

976.403 G825L

Main

Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine – June 2008

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

P400.6 P235 66:06

TXD

Palo Duro Canyon State Park Design Charette

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

P500 P186DE 1995

TXD

The Story of Palo Duro Canyon

Guy, Duane

Z TT422.8 ST76 2001

TXD

Branding Texas: performing culture in the Lone Star State

Clemons, Leigh

Z UA380.8 C592BR

TXD, E-book


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