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Famous TexansOveta Culp Hobby

Oveta Culp Hobby (1905 - 1995) was born in Killeen, Texas. She received her education at the Mary Hardin Baylor College for Women in Texas, and from the University of Texas Law School where she received a law degree in 1925. Immediately after graduation she became parliamentarian for the Texas House of Representatives, and Assistant City Attorney in Houston. In 1931 she married William P. Hobby, former Governor of Texas, and Publisher of the Houston Post. Following her marriage she helped her husband run the Post, until 1941, when Mrs. Hobby went to Washington, D.C. as a $1 a year executive, to head of the War Department's Women's Interest Section. From 1942 to 1945, she served as Director of the newly created Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.

World War II was waged on land, on sea, and in the air over for approximately six years. Fighting a two-front war, supplying men and all needed supplies for the war effort, while sending lend-lease material to the Allies, created a critical and obvious drain on the resources of the United States. Over 150,000 American women eventually served in what would become known as the Women's Army Corps (WAC). Both the Army and the American public initially had difficulty accepting the concept of women in uniform. However, political and military leaders, realized that women could supply the additional resources so desperately needed in the military and industrial sectors. Given the opportunity to make a major contribution to the national war effort, women seized it. Members of the WAC were the first women other than nurses to serve within the ranks of the United States Army.They were led by Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, the director of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps which later became the Women's Army Corps.

As a result of the success she achieved at this position, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Following World War II, Mrs. Hobby returned to Houston to help her husband run the Post, and a newly acquired television station. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower named her head of the Federal Security Agency, which, later that year, was elevated to a Cabinet position and renamed the Department of Health, Education, with Mrs. Hobby becoming its first Secretary, a position she held until 1955 when she resigned and returned to Houston to take care of her ailing husband.

Bibliography: "Oveta Culp Hobby,The Little Colonel" from the WOODSON RESEARCH CENTER, <http://riceinfo.rice.edu/Fondren/Woodson/exhibits/wac/index.html>; Oveta Culp Hobby, from "The Official Web site of the Social Security Administration" <http://www.ssa.gov/history/hobby.html>