NEARLY a decade has passed since I began the research for this book. Through these years I have accumulated debts of all sorts that I cannot begin to repay. I thank all who assisted me.
The book could not have taken its present form without the generous contributions of several San Antonians who shared with me their memories of everyday life in the Depression. Dora Guerra, of the University of Texas at San Antonio Library, and Lou Nelle Sutton, member of the Texas House of Representatives, were particularly helpful in introducing me to the women whose recollections appear here. Thelma Gavin, Bexar County Archivist, helped me locate and gain access to county court records. Tom Shelton of the Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio spent several days researching and locating photos in the Institute's Collection for inclusion in the book. The photodocumentation that accompanies the text witnesses the thoroughness of Tom's work.
Sections of this book were drafted during a Summer Seminar for College Teachers, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and directed by Stanley L. Engerman. Through numerous conversations, Stan aided in the development of my ideas, and he subsequently improved the manuscript through his careful reading and criticism. Paul Escott, Carole Haber, and J. Harvey Young offered helpful suggestions and made several important corrections. Sandy Bergo and Mary Bottomly typed the manuscript from the first to the final draft.
The research presented here was funded in part by the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women in Higher Education and the Professions, the Foundation of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the Southern Regional Education Board.
The deepest of my debts is to my family: to my mother and father, Zilpha and Karl Kirk, who parented my children through the several summers that I was away from home; to my children, Kirk and Dallas, for the gifts of their affection and spontaneous humor. I especially thank my husband, Jere, who cheerfully allowed this project to rearrange his life and who, by never reading a word of this book, remains its only totally enthusiastic admirer.