While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Gertrude Chambers
Mollie W. Armstrong
Portrait of Mollie Wright Armstrong. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Mollie W. Armstrong
Mollie Wright Armstrong. Courtesy of Texas Highways. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Armstrong's Grave
Mollie Wright Armstrong's Grave. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

ARMSTRONG, MOLLIE WRIGHT (1875–1964). Mollie Wright Armstrong, optometrist, was born on January 23, 1875, in Bell County, Texas, the daughter of Thomas C. and Elizabeth (Neal) Wright. After attending Baylor Female College, she studied at optometry schools in Georgia, Illinois, and Missouri. When she began her practice in Brownwood in 1899, she was the first woman optometrist in the state and only the second in the United States. She was active in the passage of the first optometry law in Texas, became a member of the Texas Board of Examiners in Optometry, and served as vice president and president of the board, to which she belonged for twenty-four years. She was president of the Texas Optometric Association from 1923 to 1925 and at another time served as the association's director of publicity. When the Texas Optometrist was first published, she was its editor. It was largely through her efforts that the first optometric professional liability policy was made available to optometrists nationwide, and she became a trustee of the American Optometric Association. In 1927 Dr. Armstrong was instrumental in organizing the Texas Woman's Auxiliary to the American Optometric Association. That same year she was appointed a regional director of the American Optometric Association Auxiliary. In Brownwood she was the organizer and first president of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Brownwood Business and Professional Women's Club, and the Brownwood Civic League. She served as director of the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce and represented her district as a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee. She was married to Brownwood jeweler Walter D. Armstrong, who died in 1948. She retired from practice in 1962 and died in Fort Worth on May 23, 1964. She was buried in Greenleaf Cemetery, Brownwood. See also OPTOMETRY.


Dallas Morning News, May 25, 1964. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 25, 1964. Journal of the Texas Optometric Association, August 1964. Weston A. Pettey, Optometry in Texas, 1900–1984 (Austin: Nortex, 1985).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Gertrude Chambers, "ARMSTRONG, MOLLIE WRIGHT," accessed August 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/far11.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on August 8, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...