The Honorable Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold was one of the most distinguished graduates of the University of Texas School of Law. She was one of only eight women in the 295-member class of 1949, but that was not the only trail that Farenthold would blaze in her lifetime of political achievement and public service.

From her career as an eminently successful, if dissident, member of the Texas Legislature and her galvanizing campaigns for Texas governor and U.S. vice president to her extended service as the first chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the first female president of Wells College, Farenthold has been a significant role model for countless women and men across the country. The many years she would then spend advocating on issues of peace, social justice and human rights, in Houston and around the world, also influenced generations.

This website offers a glimpse of Farenthold’s career. It showcases a variety of archival materials from her papers housed at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. It also features four original short films, using the archives as well as many hours of interviews we conducted with Farenthold and some of the people with whom she worked over the years.

Enjoy what you find on these pages about this remarkable woman. And we invite you to visit the Briscoe Center for more treasures related to her life and work.

Not to embarrass her, but she deserves not the Nobel Prize for Peace, but the Citizen’s Prize for Nobility in the Common Good. Rarely indeed, few like Sissy come along. But Sissy actually came along and became a part of history. Remember Martin Luther King said ‘The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.’ Well, Sissy is a part of that.

Ronnie Dugger

The Texas Observer