In the 1920s, writer Winifred Sanford's stories of the Texas oil boom captured the anxieties of a state on the verge of modernization. Born in Minnesota, Sanford moved to Wichita Falls in 1920, as her husband sought his fortune in the new oilfields of North Texas. At first, Sanford found the small town stifling. But she soon realized the oil boom made Texas more complex than it had first seemed.
Swift change made for great stories. Sanford hit her stride with "Windfall," a 1928 story about a woman experiencing the discovery of oil on her family farm. In her fiction, Sanford measured what Texans gained and lost in such moments—in contrast to the frontier nostalgia that then dominated the state's literature. More»