MARCH 24, 2022 — Catherine Clinton, a UTSA history professor specializing in southern women’s history, is set to be inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in recognition of her excellence in the field of writing.
The Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Honor Society that was founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. The organization’s elected membership consists of some of the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism and scholarship.
Clinton will join two other esteemed writers from UTSA when she becomes a member of the TIL: Wendy Barker, professor emeritus in the UTSA Department of English, and Carmen Tafolla, professor emeritus in the UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies.
“We are thrilled that one of our own is being inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters, a distinguished body that recognizes primarily literary accomplishments by novelists, poets, essayists, biographers, creative writers and the like,” said Wing Chung Ng, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of History. “Dr. Clinton's induction is a clear recognition of her stellar record as a published author whose work has been trailblazing in the realm of historical scholarship, and also impactful and inspiring in the broader literary circle. What an example for her peers and for our students at UTSA.”
Clinton has written and edited over 30 books including children’s fiction about Phillis Wheatley, one of the best-known female poets in pre-19th century America, the Columbia Guide to American Women in the Nineteenth Century, booklets for the National Park Service and poetry anthologies.
Her 2004 biography of Harriet Tubman, Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, was named one of the best non-fiction books by the Christian Science Monitor and the Chicago Tribune. Her book Mrs. Lincoln: A Life was published by Harper Collins in 2009, and Clinton subsequently served as a consultant for Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film, “Lincoln.”
In 2016, Louisiana State University Press published Clinton’s Fleming Lectures: Stepdaughters Of History: Southern Women and The Civil War. That year, the UTSA faculty member received a Guggenheim Fellowship in U.S. history.
In 2016, Clinton also served as President of the Southern Historical Association, an association dedicated to the defense of history education, the promotion of southern history research, the collection and preservation of the South's historical records, and the encouragement of state and local historical societies in the South.
The History News Network featured her public presidential address, “The Southern Social Network.”
Clinton was surprised to learn of her induction, after spending less than a decade creating content in the state of Texas.
“I have only been writing for the last eight years as a resident of Texas, so I am grateful for this recognition,” she said. “It’s a great honor to be accepted into the Texas Institute of Letters.”
TIL President Sergio Troncoso says that by writing books that reconsider history and scholarship, this year’s TIL inductees are expanding the minds of literary audiences.
“We are extremely proud of the outstanding work that these writers represent: children’s stories full of empathy and humor, poetry that breaks open the heart to imagine new perspectives, prose that challenges narrative forms and explores psychological complexities, and publishing that finds and amplifies voices on the margins of society.”
Clinton hopes that her induction into the Texas Institute of Letters will serve as an example for both students and faculty alike at UTSA as they pursue writing and research.
“I want to encourage our students and faculty to reach for the stars and succeed as writers as well as researchers,” Clinton said. “I hope that my induction will encourage more people to view UTSA as a prominent graduate institution as well as an undergraduate one. There is incredible research and writing happening inside the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, its Department of History and across campus.”
Clinton’s induction will take place at the TIL’s annual meeting on April 22 and 23 in El Paso, Texas.
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