Most people are well aware of how Houston was created: The Allen Brothers, a pair of fast-talking New York speculators, arrived in Texas in the 1830s, and decided to settle here. One fairly misleading advertisement later—it failed to mention the site they’d purchased along Buffalo Bayou was mostly mosquito-filled swamp —Houston was born.
But the history books often gloss over the crucial role Charlotte Baldwin Allen, wife of Augustus, played in kicking off the scam that founded the city. It was she who provided the inheritance money the brothers used to purchase the land in the first place. The expectation was (and all too often, still is) that women should contribute behind the scenes and never receive credit.
Thankfully, the world isn't the same place it was during the Allens’ day. The following pages document inspiring Houston women past and present, showing both how we got here, and what it’s like to be a woman right now in this city. The Houstonians we’ve shined a light on—who have risen to the top of their professions, even in traditionally male-dominated fields, often facing incredible sexism along the way—are still working to figure out what exactly it means to be a woman in Houston in this day and age.
Some things have changed since Charlotte Baldwin Allen first set up housekeeping along Buffalo Bayou, but there’s still a long way to go—much work to be done, progress to be made, wrongs to be righted, ceilings to be smashed. Still, Houstonian women have come a long way, indeed, and in this and every issue of Houstonia, we’ll be cheering them ever onward, ever upward.