East Texas Historical Association

The East Texas Historical Association is an organization of professional historians and interested laypersons dedicated to the preservation of the overall history of East Texas, generally defined as that portion of the state east of Interstate 35. The association was founded in 1962 after a long hiatus. It is based at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, also the home of the Texas Folklore Society. ETHA holds an annual meeting each September in Nacogdoches, with a second gathering in February at variable locations throughout east Texas.

Through its meetings and publications, ETHA seeks to preserve historical records, manuscripts, letters, journals, maps, and pictures relating to East Texas. It supports historic preservation, with an interest in architectural worth. Its primary publication is the East Texas Historical Journal. There is an index of published Journal articles to assist in historical research. Regular membership is $35 per year and $400 for lifetime participation.[1]

Past ETHA presidents include the late Claude Hall, an American diplomatic historian at Texas A&M University in College Station, who served from 1976–1977; Bill O'Neal, prolific western author from Panola College in Carthage, Texas, who head the association from 1991–1992, and Robert T. "Ty" Cashion (born 1956) of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, the president from 2002-2003. In August 2012, O'Neal was appointed the Texas State Historian.

Archie P. McDonald (1935-2012) of Nacogdoches was named the first ETHA executive director/editor in 1979. McDonald retired from the position in 2008 after thirty-seven years of service. McDonald has written or edited numerous works on East Texas. Following his retirement, M. Scott Sosebee replaced McDonald as executive director/editor of the Association and continues those duties in the present. Sosebee is an associate professor of history at Stephen F. Austin State University and researches and writes on Texas and southern history.[2][3]

ETHA has eight awards:

  • C.K. Chamberlain Award—the best article appearing the previous year in the East Texas Historical Journal (September)
  • Ralph W. Steen Award—outstanding service to historical efforts in East Texas (February)
  • Fellows Award—authors of East Texas history of outstanding quality or interest (September)
  • Lucille Terry Preservation Award—recognizes preservation of historical landmarks (February)
  • Best of East Texas Award—greatest honor for those promoting East Texas history (September)
  • Educator Award—to outstanding educator in the field of East Texas history (by March 1)
  • Best Book on East Texas History -- $250 award and plaque
  • Research Grants—for scholars in East Texas history[1]

A previous ETHA functioned from 1927–1932, having been established by W.F. Garner, chairman of the history department at the then Stephen F. Austin State Teachers College. The group met in Nacogdoches in 1927 and annually thereafter on college campuses in Huntsville, Commerce, and Nacogdoches, until it disbanded during the Great Depression. Among those who read papers at its meetings were Eugene C. Barker of the University of Texas at Austin, Martha Emmons of Nacogdoches High School and later Baylor College, and the Reverend George Louis Crocket (1861–1936), a retired Protestant Episcopal minister from Nacogdodhes, who served as the first associational president. The organization was thereafter revived in 1962 under the leadership of Ralph Wright Steen (1905–1980), the Stephen F. Austin University president and C.K. Chamberlain, then history department chairman at Stephen F. Austin. Two of the ETHA awards are hence named for Steen and Chamberlain.[3]

In February 2010, ETHA held its first ever joint meeting in Fort Worth with the older West Texas Historical Association, based at the Southwest Collection of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.


  1. Brochure, East Texas Historical Association, Nacogdoches, Texas
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2011-02-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. "Archie P. McDonald, "East Texas Historical Association"". tshaonline.org. Retrieved March 26, 2010.
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