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 »


Alwyn Barr

SIMMONS, MAE D. THOMAS (1909–1981). Mae D. Thomas Simmons, public school teacher and civic leader, was born in Navarro County, Texas, on December 5, 1909. She moved with her parents to Wichita Falls, Texas, when she was fifteen years old and there received her high school diploma. After two years as a student at Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University), she later graduated with a B.A. from Texas Southern University and added summer classes at Huston-Tillotson College. She received a master’s degree at the University of Iowa with more summer studies at the universities of Colorado and Minnesota.

After teaching at Henrietta, Texas, she moved to Lubbock and wed a man named Simmons on July 28, 1939. She taught at the elementary level in Lubbock for twenty-nine years, beginning in 1943. Mae Simmons first instructed students at Ella Iles Elementary School, where she then served as principal over a twelve-year span. Later she returned to the classroom at Hodges Elementary School and retired there in 1972.

Her extensive civic activities in Lubbock included eighteen years with the United Fund, chair of a March of Dimes chapter for fifteen years, and ten years of service for the American Cancer Society. She participated on boards for the YWCA, Girl Scouts, Boys’ Clubs, a day nursery, and Child Welfare, as well as the Community Planning Council. Her numerous professional memberships included the Lubbock Classroom Teachers Association, National Education Association, Texas Elementary Principals Association, and American Association of University Women. She attended Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Governor Preston Smith appointed her to an advisory committee of the State Manpower Board. As a result of her wide ranging civic service, the city of Lubbock created Mae Simmons Community Center and Mae Simmons Park in 1953.

Following retirement Mae Simmons in 1978 moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she had a sister, and then to Houston in 1980 where two brothers lived. She died there at Park Plaza Hospital on August 5, 1981, and was buried in Houston Memorial Gardens.


Samuel J. Ayers, African American Heroes of Lubbock (Lubbock: Lubbock Christian University, 2003). Lubbock Digest, August 13 Thru August 19, 1981. Katie Parks, comp., Remember When? A History of African Americans in Lubbock, Texas (Lubbock: Friends of the Library/Southwest Collection, 1999). Vertical File, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University.

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, Alwyn Barr, "SIMMONS, MAE D. THOMAS ," accessed July 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsi66.

Uploaded on October 23, 2013. 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...