Raised in a one-room log cabin in a small North Texas town, Amon G. Carter (1879–1955) rose to become the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a seat of power from which he relentlessly promoted the city of Fort Worth, amassed a fortune, and established himself as the quintessential Texan of his era. The first in-depth, scholarly biography of this outsize character and civic booster, Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life
(University of Oklahoma Press, 2019) chronicles a remarkable life and places it in the larger context of state and nation.
Though best known for the Star-Telegram, Carter also established WBAP, Fort Worth’s first radio station, which in 1948 became the first television station in the Southwest. He was responsible for bringing the headquarters of what would become American Airlines to Fort Worth and for securing government funding for a local aircraft factory that evolved into Lockheed Martin.
Historian Brian A. Cervantez
has drawn on Texas Christian University’s rich collection of Carter papers to chart Carter’s quest to bring business and government projects to his adopted hometown, enterprises that led to friendships with prominent national figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Will Rogers, H. L. Mencken, and John Nance Garner.
After making millions of dollars in the oil business, Carter used his wealth to fund schools, hospitals, museums, churches, parks, and camps. His numerous philanthropic efforts culminated in the Amon G. Carter Foundation, which still supports cultural and educational endeavors throughout Texas. He was a driving force behind the establishment of Texas Tech University, a major contributor to Texas Christian University, a key figure in the creation of Big Bend National Park, and an art lover whose collection of the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell served as the foundation of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life
testifies to the singular character and career of one man whose influence can be seen throughout the cultural and civic life of Fort Worth, Texas, and the American Southwest to this day.
Dr. Brian Cervantez is Associate Professor at Tarrant County College in Texas, where he specializes in the history of the American South.
Rob Denning is the host of the excellent podcast Working Historians. Subscribe to Working Historians here.