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Humanities Texas Announces Winners of The First Humanities Texas Award

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Clifton and Shirley Caldwell and the Brownsville Historical Association have been named the inaugural recipients of the Humanities Texas Award. The award recognizes imaginative leadership in the humanities on a local, regional or state level. Winners receive a cash award of $5,000.

The state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Texas develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, museum exhibitions and documentary films.

The Caldwells, who live in Albany, have promoted Texas history and historic preservation for nearly four decades through philanthropy, civic leadership, independent scholarship and entrepreneurial activity.

The couple has provided leadership to a number of the state's cultural and historical organizations, including the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas State Historical Association, the Dallas County Historical Commission, the Shackelford County Historical Commission and the Center for Big Bend Studies.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell have authored books exploring Texas history. Together, they established the Clifton and Shirley Caldwell Texas Heritage Series at the University of Texas Press and are proprietors of The Lynch Line, an Albany bookstore specializing in Texas and Western history.

In his letter nominating the Caldwells for the award, F. Lawerence Oaks, executive director of the Texas Historical Commission, praised the couple's record of service.

"Clifton and Shirley Caldwell have dedicated decades of their lives and significant largesse to the research, publication, preservation and promotion of Texas history and letters," Oaks wrote. "They embody the best qualities of what is known as the 'Texas spirit': independence, courage, generosity, and humor."

The Brownsville Historical Association (BHA) develops and sponsors public programs exploring the history, heritage and cultural arts of the Rio Grande Valley.

For six decades, the BHA has supported the educational and cultural growth of South Texas and has catalyzed the redevelopment of historic downtown Brownsville by sponsoring various educational programs and walking tours.

In 2005, the BHA revised its mission statement and strategic plan, redoubling its efforts to provide accessible and compelling humanities programs for Rio Grande Valley residents and tourists alike. Attendance figures at BHA museums and programs have since quadrupled.

"They have managed to touch many lives with their programs," Charlie Cabler, Brownsville city manager, said. "Their efforts have sparked an interest in the revitalization of historic downtown Brownsville and increased heritage tourism."

Michael L. Gillette, executive director of Humanities Texas, regards the inaugural winners as exemplary practitioners of the public humanities.

"Both Clifton and Shirley Caldwell and the Brownsville Historical Association have made significant contributions to the appreciation and understanding of Texas history and culture," Gillette said. "We are honored to recognize their achievements, and we hope that their work will serve as models for others to emulate."

Humanities Texas will issue a call for nominations for the 2008 Humanities Texas Award in the spring.

About Humanities Texas

Humanities Texas, formerly the Texas Council for the Humanities, is a nonprofit organization that develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, museum exhibitions and documentary films. For more information, please visit Humanities Texas online at

Editors note: Digital photos of the award presentation ceremony will be available by 2pm CST on Thursday, January 24. For a copy of event photos, please contact Kevin Smothers or Lindsey Erwin at 512.472.9599.

SOURCE Humanities Texas
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