|I was both kind of surprised and not surprised to discover that every two years the good folks at the Texas State Historical Association publish the Texas Almanac. This biennial beast clocks in at around 3 pounds and 700+ pages. Despite covering the history, geography, economy, agriculture, politics and demographics of just one state, it is only 300 pages shorter than the World Almanac! |
Even more shocking is that the Texas Almanac has been around since 1857! Twelve years after Texas statehood, early editions of the Almanac focused on politics, civics, and eyewitness accounts from historical events like the Texas Revolution, the nine years (1836-1845) of Texas being its own country, and the early days of statehood. While there have been years without an edition, for the most part the Almanac has been a longstanding tradition varying in length, focus, and publisher.
For a trivia and place-based buff like myself, this book is an absolute gem. There are spreads devoted to maps and data about each of the 254 counties; synopses of key dates in Texas history, and lists of famous people from and events occurring in the state. If you have a hankering to test your Texas history knowledge (and really, who doesn’t?!), you can play along online here.
If you aren’t quite ready to buy the 2020-2021 version, you can get a free electronic version of the 2018-2019 edition.
But as every good pundit and demographer knows, Texas is not a place that will stand still for long. According to state demographer, Lloyd Potter, Texas is leading the county in population growth, growing faster and adding more people than any other state. During a recent interview on the public radio program Texas Standard, Potter notes that:
“Texas’ population grows by about 1,000 people every day, half of these new Texans are babies born here. The other half are people moving to Texas: that’s a mix of people coming from within the U.S. and those coming from another country.”
Home to three of the top 10 largest cities in the United States (4th=Houston; 7th=San Antonio; 9th=Dallas, and Austin is 11th, inching towards San Jose.), Texas is constantly expanding, diversifying, and changing. So maybe it makes sense that a state that was once it’s own country publishes a self-referential almanac every two years. And maybe it’s just as important as in the early days of Texas statehood to be capturing the eye-witness accounts of this changing land.