Texas historical society avoids lawsuit over dispute about how state history is taught to students

A dispute over the composition of a state historical society in Texas has been resolved after its president and secretary agreed to step down.

A dispute over the teaching of state history in Texas classrooms has been resolved.

The dispute, which lasted for more than a year and a half, was over the composition of the board of directors of the Texas State Historical Association.

(Underwood Archives/Getty Images).

According to its own bylaws TSHA’s board must be composed of half academics and the other half non-academics. The president has the final say. TSHA’s board has been made up of 12 academics and 8 non-academics for the last three years.

J.P. Bryan (retired oilman) argued that the composition of TSHA shifted its ideological bent, as academics pushed stories that vilified Texas’ traditional heroes. Bryan has been accused by critics of underplaying the role played by non-Anglo groups in Texas’ history.


Walter Buenger’s statement to Fox News Digital in a previous interview challenged Bryan’s claim of an imbalance on the board. He noted that two non-academic Presidents have served as presidents over the last 15 years, both who “have published books, hold graduate degrees and teach occasional classes as adjuncts, but no one has objected to them being classified as non-academics.”

Bryan sued the board in May. He claimed that it was violating its bylaws, and that Nancy Baker Jones was trying to remove him.

(Getty Images) A view of the Galveston County Courthouse, Texas. (Getty Images)

Jones and Secretary Stephanie Cole, after a meeting of mediation on Wednesday, agreed to resign. They will be replaced by non-academics. A third vacancy is also being filled by non-academics. Bryan has dropped the lawsuit, and there will be no trial in this matter.


Bryan said to Fox News Digital that this was not something about which we were gloating or boasting. It’s just something we believe was right because it’s not necessary to be an expert or a lawyer to know that our board has always been properly balanced by academics and nonacademics. We’re returning to the way things were always intended.

Bryan announced that he would be nominating three people to fill board vacancies.

He said, “I am confident that we will get some highly qualified candidates this week and submit something to the board next week for their approval.”

Sam Houston

TSHA was founded in 1897 and publishes educational programs, research materials, and other material about the Lone Star State.

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly and the Texas Almanac are among the publications of the association. They’re often cited in classrooms by authors and teachers. Their work also influences the content of Texas historical sites such as urban museums, Spanish Missions, and the world-famous battlefields of the Revolutionary War. The Texas Legislature provides taxpayer funding to the organization. The organization’s publications have a significant impact on how Texas history is taught and understood in public schools.


Fox News Digital will update the story if Jones, Buenger and TSHA respond to our request for comment.

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