Light T. Cummins




Light T. Cummins is the Guy M. Bryan Chair of American History, Emeritus, at Austin College where he served as a Professor of History from 1978 until 2018. He no longer maintains an office on the campus but still may be reached through his Austin College email address as noted below in the contact section.

The Governor of Texas appointed him as the official State Historian of Texas, a non-partisan post in which he served from May, 2009 until July, 2012.

He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Southwest Texas State University, now known as Texas State University, where he received an Achievement Award from the Texas State Alumni Association in 2008 and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Liberal Arts in 2011. He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas State University in 2018. After serving as an officer in the United States Air Force, he received a Ph.D. from Tulane University.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Spain. His wife, Victoria Hennessey Cummins, is currently a Professor of History at Austin College, where she specializes in the colonial history of Latin America and the history of women.

He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Philosophical Society of Texas. Cummins was named a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor in 2006. He has received the Austin College Humanities Division Faculty Award in each of the three categories of Outstanding Teaching, Community Service, and Scholarship. In 2012 The Princeton Review selected him one of The 300 Best Professors nationwide in all academic disciplines. He received the 2018 Homer Price Rainey Award.

Among his publications are A Guide to the History of Louisiana (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982,) A Guide to the History of Texas  (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1988,) Spanish Observers in the American Revolution (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1992), Louisiana: A History (New York: Wiley-Blackwell,)  Austin College: A Sesquicentennial History (Austin: Eakin Press, 1999,) and several dozen articles in various historical journals.

His book, United States History to 1877, is a widely-adopted textbook for college survey and Advanced Placement courses.

He has written a biography of Emily Austin. This book won the 2010 Liz Carpenter Award as the best book about a Texas woman.

Cummins is a former member of the Board of Directors of Humanities Texas.  He is a lifetime fellow of the Texas State Historical Association and has served on the Board of Directors of that association. He is a former president of the Louisiana Historical Association. He previously served as president of the Southwestern Historical Association.

In September of 2014 Cummins published Discovering Texas History, edited with Bruce Glasrud and Cary Wintz. This volume is a historical literature guide designed for use by undergraduates, graduate students, and others who are beginning research projects on Texas history. It contains almost two dozen articles, each written by a specialist in the field, that survey the historical literature written about Texas history, both chronologically and topically.

His book On History's Trail: Speeches and Essays of the Texas State Historian, 2009-2012 was published in October of 2014 by the Texas State Historical Association.

Cummins has written a book length biographical study of Dallas sculptor Allie Tennant. This volume is Allie Victoria Tennant and the Visual Arts in Dallas, 1892-1971. It was published by the Texas A&M University Press. It won the 2015 Liz Carpenter Award from the Texas State Historical Association.

His most recent book, To the Vast and Beautiful Land: Anglo-American Migration into Spanish Louisiana and Texas, 1760s-1820s is currently in press at the Texas A&M University Press. It is forthcoming in 2019.

At present, he is editing and researching a book with his wife Victoria Cummins. The tentative title is Making the Unknown Known: Women in Early Texas Art, 1860s-1960s


Contact Information:

Light T. Cummins
P.O. Box 2065

Denton, Texas 76202-2065