A Guide to the Margie E. Neal Papers, 1875-1953
Margie Elizabeth Neal (1875-1971) was the first woman state senator in Texas. Born near Clayton, Texas, Neal attended Sam Houston State Teachers College, but left before graduating to teach school in Fort Worth. After teaching a short time, she returned to Carthage, Texas, in 1903 to care for her ill mother. In 1903, her father, William Lafayette Neal, purchased the weekly newspaper, the Texas Mule, for her. She edited and published the paper under the name East Texas Register before selling it to J. M. Carnes in 1911. A noted suffragist, Neal was a district chairman in the fight for women’s suffrage and the first woman to register to vote in Panola County. Furthermore, she was the first woman member of the State Democratic Executive Committee and attended the 1920 National Democratic Convention in San Francisco as a delegate. From 1921 to 1927, she served on the board of regents for the State Teachers Colleges.
Panola County elected Neal to the Texas Senate in 1926, and she served four consecutive terms before retiring in 1935. During her time as a senator, she focused on educational issues, helping to establish the State Board of Education, introducing public school physical education classes, and securing a large appropriation for rural education. Additionally, she sponsored legislation providing for rehabilitation for the handicapped.
For ten years following her terms as state senator, Neal worked with the National Recovery Administration and the federal Social Security Administration in Washington, D. C. She retired to her home in Carthage in 1945, but continued to be an active community leader. In June 1952, Carthage held an appreciation day for Neal where Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, Governor Allan Shivers, and Oveta Culp Hobby spoke. Neal, who never married, died in Carthage, Texas, in 1971.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Neal, Margie Elizabeth," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/fne2.html (accessed July 27, 2010).
"Neal, Margie E.," Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Autobiographical notes and a reel-to-reel tape recording comprise the Margie E. Neal Papers, 1875-1953, and relate to her career as a newspaper publisher, suffragist, senator, and public official. Neal prepared the autobiographical notes for Walter L. Harris who conducted a number of interviews with Neal in 1952 and 1953. The reel-to-reel tape contains recordings of the major addresses given at the Margie E. Neal Appreciation Day program at Carthage, Texas, on June 16, 1952, by Allan Shivers, Lyndon B. Johnson, Oveta Culp Hobby, and Margie Neal.
Use of audio material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist.
Margie E. Neal Papers, 1875-1953, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers