Raised in a one-room log cabin in a small North Texas town, Amon G. Carter (1879–1955) rose to become the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a seat of power from which he relentlessly promoted the city of Fort Worth, amassed a fortune, and established himself as the quintessential Texan of his era. The first in-depth, scholarly biography of this outsize character and civic booster, Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life chronicles a remarkable life and places it in the larger context of state and nation.
Though best known for the Star-Telegram, Carter also established WBAP, Fort Worth’s first radio station, which in 1948 became the first television station in the Southwest. He was responsible for bringing the headquarters of what would become American Airlines to Fort Worth and for securing government funding for a local aircraft factory that evolved into Lockheed Martin. Historian Brian A. Cervantez has drawn on Texas Christian University’s rich collection of Carter papers to chart Carter’s quest to bring business and government projects to his adopted hometown, enterprises that led to friendships with prominent national figures such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Will Rogers, H. L. Mencken, and John Nance Garner.
After making millions of dollars in the oil business, Carter used his wealth to fund schools, hospitals, museums, churches, parks, and camps. His numerous philanthropic efforts culminated in the Amon G. Carter Foundation, which still supports cultural and educational endeavors throughout Texas. He was a driving force behind the establishment of Texas Tech University, a major contributor to Texas Christian University, a key figure in the creation of Big Bend National Park, and an art lover whose collection of the works of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell served as the foundation of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life testifies to the singular character and career of one man whose influence can be seen throughout the cultural and civic life of Fort Worth, Texas, and the American Southwest to this day.
“‘Where the West begins,’ is how Amon Carter described Fort Worth, but in this meticulously researched biography Brian Cervantez tells a story that leads us to but one conclusion: Amon Carter is where Fort Worth began. It’s all here, in Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life, an enlightening and fascinating read. It is an all-but-unbelievable tale that turns out to be true.”—Bob Schieffer, CBS News
“Known today for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and its renowned collection of paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell, Amon Carter had a long, storied career as one of Texas’s first ‘news barons,’ an aviation pioneer, a successful oil man, an education advocate, a major philanthropist, and a passionate promoter of his beloved Fort Worth—a man of humble beginnings who never forgot his hard-scrabble origins. In this well-researched biography, Brian Cervantez places Carter in the context of the ‘new’ South and West.”—Ron Tyler, author of Western Art, Western History: Collected Essays
“Amon Carter: A Lone Star Life is essential reading for those interested in the history of Fort Worth and West Texas. But it also provides a valuable view into New Deal politics, the rise of the urban progressive businessman in the Southwest, and the intersection of southern and western cultures emerging in the first half of the twentieth century in the Lone Star state.”— Southwestern Historical Quarterly