Writer Mary Austin Holley introduced English-speaking readers of the 1830s and '40s to Texas, which she called a land of "surpassing beauty . . . a splendid country." Sadly, she died of yellow fever in 1846 and never settled in the place that had captured her heart, but her work provides invaluable accounts of life in early Texas.
Image: Portrait of Mary Austin Holley. Frontispiece illustration from Letters of an Early American Traveller, Mary Austin Holley, 1784–1846.