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 »


Debbie Mauldin Cottrell

GODBOLD, MOLLIE MOORE (1877–1964). Mollie Moore Godbold, playwright, was born in Proctor, Comanche County, Texas, on November 4, 1877, the daughter of Thomas Oscar and Sarah Thomas Moore. She was named for her father's sister, writer Mollie Evelyn Moore Davis. She received her education in the public schools of Comanche and through tutoring at home. In 1897 she married Sanc Wilbur Godbold; the couple had two sons and one daughter.

Mrs. Godbold began writing plays in 1909 and eventually her works, largely written for amateur performance groups, became nationally known. Her first play, a comedy called The Microbe of Love, was written when an amateur drama group in Comanche needed a piece to perform. The production was a success, and the author soon received requests from other cities for copies of the play. Eventually, the Wayne B. Sewell Lyceum and Producing Company of Atlanta, Georgia, published the play, and it was performed in almost every state in the country. After this initial favorable reception as a playwright, Godbold, by that time a widow, continued to publicize her first work and to produce other pieces. Her plays, many with Texas settings, were often performed first in Comanche and played in numerous Texas towns and cities, often under her direction. She stressed that as a single mother she wrote as time allowed and always hoped to provide wholesome humor to mollify life's disappointments. Her second work, Polly Tickks, also was contracted by Sewell. In 1924 Godbold joined Hettie Jane Dunnaway (the wife of Wayne Sewell) to write The Flapper Grandmother. Her next play was Help Yourself (1926, revised in 1930), a three-act musical comedy set in a small Central Texas town; it was produced in more than twenty-five states. That same year Godbold wrote The Love Cure, a one-act comedy that was published by Samuel French and performed in Canada, Jamaica, and the United States. The Love Cure and The Microbe of Love were later combined in a musical comedy arrangement as The Love Bug (1930). Gun-Shy (1930), a three-act comedy set in a small West Texas town, was followed by Raw Edges, a drama that premiered in Dallas in 1934. In her musical works, Godbold composed all the songs as well as the scripts.

She also wrote articles, poems, and novels. Two of her novels, Raw Edges and Gun Shy, were based on earlier plays of the same name; her third novel was Quality Folks. One of her last writing efforts was a two-part article on Comanche, Texas, and the gunman John Wesley Hardin, which appeared in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly in 1963. Mollie Godbold, a resident of Dallas from 1922 until her death, was active in numerous civic and professional groups, including Dallas Pen Women, Little Theater of Dallas, Texas Woman's Press Association (now Texas Press Women), and the Presbyterian Church. In addition to these interests, "Miss Mollie" was an avid walker, horseback rider, and fisher. She died in Dallas on June 4, 1964, and was buried in Comanche. Her survivors included her three children and several grandchildren and siblings.


Florence Elberta Barns, Texas Writers of Today (Dallas: Tardy, 1935). Dallas Morning News, April 18, 1926, June 5, 1964. Dallas Times Herald, June 4, 1964.

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, Debbie Mauldin Cottrell, "GODBOLD, MOLLIE MOORE," accessed July 09, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgoxx.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on December 10, 2019. 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...