TSHA Board Selects Jesús F. de la Teja as Chief Executive Officer
Austin, Texas—Jesús F. de la Teja, Ph.D., has been named the Chief Executive Officer of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) by the board of directors effective February 1, 2018.
“Frank” de la Teja was TSHA President 2007–2008 as he concurrently served as the inaugural Texas State Historian (2007-2009). For seventeen years, July 1997 to April 2014, de la Teja was the book review editor of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, responsible for hundreds of reviews of scholarly books on Texas and the Southwest.
He has contributed research articles to the Quarterly, most notably "Why Urbano and María Trinidad Can’t Get Married: Social Relations in Late Colonial San Antonio." He often advises on TSHA projects, most recently with the Handbook of Tejano History, a Handbook of Texas project. Perhaps one of his greatest legacies is shared with his wife, Magdalena H. de la Teja, Ph.D. Together they have established the Catarino and Evangelina Hernández Research Fellowship to support further research in Latino history in Texas. The Fellowship is named in honor of Dr. Magdalena de la Teja's parents, emigrants from Mexico who became U.S. citizens.
Named a TSHA Fellow in 2001, de la Teja has demonstrated remarkable abilities in research and knowledge as he has published extensively on Spanish, Mexican, and Republic-era Texas. He participated on the content development team for the Bullock Texas State History Museum. In addition, he is a recipient of the Americanism Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Fellow of the Texas Catholic Historical Society, and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and of the Texas Institute of Letters.
Always eager to use new ways to promote Texas history, de la Teja delivered TSHA's inaugural Texas Talks, an interactive distance-learning program. He welcomed the opportunity to share his knowledge of Texas history.
De la Teja was the Jerome H. and Catherine E. Supple Professor of Southwestern Studies, Regents’ Professor of History, and Director of the Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University until he retired in August 2017.
The celebrated historian is not from Texas; he was born in Cuba and raised in New Jersey. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in political science and his master’s degree in Latin American history from Seton Hall University. When he came to Texas to earn his doctorate in colonial Latin American history from The University of Texas at Austin, his interest in Texas history began. An instructor recommended de la Teja as a researcher for novelist James Michener, who was then writing Texas. He worked for Michener for more than two years.
"In that time I had to learn a lot of Texas history," de la Teja stated. "That led me to write my dissertation on Spanish San Antonio. Before I finished writing it, I became an archivist at the Texas General Land Office. There, I dealt with Texas history on a daily basis and my fascination with the subject was cemented. I've been doing Texas history ever since."
De la Teja’s scholarly passion for Texas history coupled with his acquired knowledge of the inner workings of TSHA will serve him well as he joins Chief Historian Walter L. Buenger in leading the Association.