The Center for Texas Studies was founded in 1986 to serve as a clearinghouse for Texas literature as well as art, history, geography, politics, and other subjects. Noted Texas newspaper columnist, historian, and author A.C.Greene served as the Center's Coordinating Director from 1986 - 1992. He was also the Center's resident faculty member. James W. Lee served as the Director of the center from 1986 - 1996. Lee, also a Texas author, served as a faculty member at the University of North Texas, and as the Chair of the Department of English.
The Center sponsored conferences and events that celebrated Texas culture and letters as well as projects about Texas history and life. It served as a central location for information about Texas that was used by scholars, writers, artists, and the business community. Two advisory groups - one on campus and one that was statewide - recommended projects.
Of particular note, the Center sponsored the Governor's Sesquicentennial Conference on the Literary Arts in 1986. The conference featured more than 55 Texas writers from novelists to poets, playwrights, and journalists - including Sandra Cisneros, Larry McMurtry, Jim Lehrer, and Horton Foote. Governor Mark White spoke at the conference, and panels featured actors and members of the film community, most notably actor Robert Duvall.
During its tenure the Center published the journal Texas Books in Review as well as the anthology KenteCloth: African American Voices in Texas, American Periodicals: A Journal of History, Criticism, and Bibliography, Military History of the West, Southwest Journal on Aging, Diversity: A Journal of Multicultural Issues, Texas Studies Journal, and Locus. The anthology Texas in Poetry: A 150-Year Anthology was published by the Center in 1994. The Center also sponsored numerous workshops, lectures and talks, literary festivals, symposiums, awards, and a ranching project to study the future of Texas ranching.
Center for Texas Studies Activities, January 29, 1996