Up and autumn, folks. It’s time to tackle part three of my Texas cultural literacy test. This quiz covers the state of the state from the twenties through the fifties. The era proved an identity crisis of sorts for Texas, which was struggling to hold on to a country-boy past while contemplating a city-slicker future full of oil money, military might, and (some things never change) political machinations. Turn to page 103 to check your answers, give yourself four points for each question you didn’t blow, then refer to the scoring box to find out if you’re an ace or a disgrace.

1. What did Governor Pat Neff do in 1925 after hearing bluesman Leadbelly sing?

a. asked him to sing at Mrs. Neff’s funeral
b. commissioned him to compose a new state song
c. pardoned him
d. complained of a headache

2. Which of the following statements about Neff’s successor, Miriam A. Ferguson, is not true?

a. In 1925 she became the first female governor in U.S. history.
b. In 1925 and 1926 she pardoned more than two thousand convicts.
c. In 1933 she fired 44 Texas Rangers.
d. During both terms she pledged to follow the advice of her husband, impeached governor James Ferguson.

3. Throughout the twenties Texas women’s groups pushed hard for social reforms. How did male legislators refer to this newly enfranchised political force?

a. the Late Bloomers
b. the Petticoat Lobby
c. the Corset Congress
d. the Bosom Buddies

4. What was the title of the first Academy awardwinning film, an aviation extravaganza shot in San Antonio in 1927?

a. Pontius the Pilot
b. Wings
c. The Wind
d. Written on the Wind

5. Who died on May 23, 1934, in Gibsland, Louisiana?

a. outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
b. humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post
c. U.S. senator and alleged Ku Klux Klansman Earle Mayfield
d. Beauford Jester, the only Texas governor to die in office

6. Which of the following Texas songs was the unofficial anthem of the Great Depression?

a. Woody Guthrie’s “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You”
b. Bob Wills’s “Time Changes Everything”
c. Vernon Dalhart’s “The Prisoner’s Song”
d. Dale Evans’ “Happy Trails”

7. Which Texas-born actress was never nominated for an Academy award?

a. Mary Martin
b. Ginger Rogers
c. Joan Crawford
d. Carolyn Jones

8. In the thirties and forties Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and many other actresses dated a tall Texan who had made his name in Hollywood. Who was he?

a. singing cowboy Gene Autry
b. producer Howard Hughes, Jr.
c. director King Vidor
d. actor Zachary Scott

9. Which Texan became Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1940?

a. John Nance Garner
b. Tom Connally
c. Sam Rayburn
d. Lyndon Baines Johnson

10. Approximately 750,000 Texans served in the armed forces during World War II. How many never came home?

a. 4,000
b. 9,000
c. 22,000
d. 100,000

11. Which movie was set and filmed primarily in Texas?

a. Duel in the Sun (1946)
b. Giant (1956)
c. The Searchers (1956)
d. Old Yeller (1957)

Match each Texan with the appropriate nickname:

12. Governor Miriam A. Ferguson a. Big Mama
13. Governor W. Lee O’Daniel b. Ma
14. blues singer Willie Mae Thornton c. Dad
15. wildcatter C. M. Joiner d.Pappy

16. Houston’s Oveta Culp Hobby is to the women’s branch of the Army as Commerce’s Claire Chennault is to:

a. the Lost Battalion
b. the Flying Tigers
c. the Light Crust Doughboys
d. the women’s branch of the Navy

17. Cross Plains’s Robert E. Howard is to Conan the Barbarian as Taylor’s Tex Avery is to:

a. Alley Oop
b. Bugs Bunny
c. Donald Duck
d. Wile E. Coyote

18. Folklorist J. Frank Dobie helped organize the Texas Institute of Letters. Who won the group’s first-ever best-book award?

a. J. Frank Dobie
b. Katherine Anne Porter
c. Walter Prescott Webb
d. Dorothy Scarborough

a. “And I am drunk/As I can get.”
b. “The weather’s dry/But you’re all wet.”
c. “And here I is/In Texas yet.”
d. “And nary a stranger/Have I met.”

20. Which one of the following athletes excelled in more than one sport?

a. Rogers Hornsby
b. Sammy Baugh
c. Ben Hogan
d. Babe Didrikson Zaharias

21. Which Texan was not a World War II hero?

a. Audie Murphy
b. Roy P. Benavidez
c. Doris Miller
d. Chester Nimitz

22. In 1948 Lyndon Baines Johnson edged out Coke R. Stevenson in the Democratic primary for U.S. senator, thanks to late returns from Jim Wells County. Johnson’s foes alleged voting fraud. What term is shorthand for the entire incident?

a. Santa Rita No. 1
b. Daisy Bradford No. 3
c. Box 13
d. File 13

23. Three of the following occurred in 1950. Which did not?

a. the filing of the lawsuit U.S. v. Texas, in which the federal government vied for control of Texas’ tidelands
b. the U.S. Supreme Court decision compelling the University of Texas law school to admit black applicant Heman Sweatt, who had challenged U.T.’s segregation policy
c. the explosion at the Texas City docks of a ship carrying fertilizer, which killed more than five hundred people
d. the shift of the state’s population from chiefly rural to chiefly urban

24. In the early fifties Governor Allan Shivers split with liberal Democrats and swung his support to Republican candidates, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. What were his conservative Democratic supporters called?

a. Shivercrats
b. Shiver-me-timbers
c. Eisenheimers
d. Al’s Pals

25. What rocked Texas on January 3, 1959?

a. a minor earthquake near the Arkansas line
b. Ernest Tubb’s electrification of his guitar
c. Alaska’s admission to the Union
d. the news that Lubbock rock and roll pioneer Buddy Holly had died in a plane crash


1, c. 2, a. 3, b. 4, b. 5, a. 6, a. 7, a. 8, b. 9, c. 10, c. 11, b. 12, b. 13, d. 14, a. 15, c. 16, b. 17, b. 18, a. 19, c. 20, d. 21, b. 22, c. 23, c. 24, a. 25, c.

Lore Score

80-100: Native Texan or Long-term Resident (LTR): Teach me, O Sensei! Transplant: A little learning is a dangerous thing. And you’re a holy terror.

60-76: Native or LTR: Just say “know.” Transplant: You weren’t born a smarty-pants, but you got there as fast as you could.

40-56: Native or LTR: You know enough dadgum Texas history already, and you ain’t learnin’ no more. Transplant: And you were wondering why nobody ever picks your brain.

0-36: Native or LTR: Your knowledge of Texas history is: (a) rusty, (b) dusty, (c) musty, (d) fusty. Transplant: Hey—you’re in good company!