Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences Dedman College Research Faculty News History SW Center

SMU historian Andrew R. Graybill is a newly elected member of the Texas Institute of Letters

Dallas Weekly

Originally Posted: March 5, 2020

SMU historian Andrew R. Graybill and University alumna Regina Taylor, an actress and playwright, are newly elected members of the Texas Institute of Letters, an organization that celebrates Texas literature and recognizes distinguished literary achievement.

Graybill and Taylor are among 19 new members to be inducted at the upcoming institute annual meeting, to be held in Georgetown March 27-29.

“I was thrilled to be selected, particularly because of the extraordinary achievements of the institute’s other members,” Graybill says. “Texas is often undersold. It’s an exceptionally creative place. And to enter as part of a class that includes musicians Robert Earl Keen and James McMurtry is especially exciting to me.”

Graybill, a San Antonio native, is a professor in the Clements Department of History and director of SMU’s  William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Established in fall 1996, the Clements Center promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming related to Texas, the American Southwest and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

A historian of the North American West, Graybill  is the author or editor of four books: Policing the Great Plains: Rangers, Mounties, and the North American Frontier, 1875-1910Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories, which he co-edited with Benjamin Johnson, The Red and the White: A Family Saga of the American West and Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States which he co-edited with Adam Arenson. He is currently working on several projects, including a volume for the A Very Short Introduction series published by Oxford University Press.

In addition, he writes regularly for Texas Monthly and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.

Actress, playwright and director Regina Taylor graduated from SMU in 1981. A Dallas native, her most recent play, Bread, was her second to receive an Edgerton Foundation Award, after The Trinity River Plays. Other awards include a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award and multiple Emmy nominations.

She has a longtime association with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre as a member of its prestigious Artistic Collective and is a playwright-in-residence at the Signature Theatre in New York City. She has held prestigious academic posts such as the Denzel Washington Endowed Chair in theatre at Fordham University. Active at  SMU, she serves on the Meadows School of the Arts Executive Board and was named the 2020 Black Alumni of SMU History Maker.

The Texas Institute of Letters was created in 1936, and its members represent the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism and academic scholarship. READ MORE