Saturday, February 21, 2015

HENRIETTA CLAY LIGON GORMAN, The Bohemian Lady of Ft. Worth

Although a native of Alabama, Henrietta Clay Ligon Gorman was a Texan at heart. Married and living in Ft. Worth by the 1880's, she was the self-appointed Fort Worth, Texas leader of all things artistic. She was also the sister of my Great Great Grandfather, W.L. Ligon.

In 1899, Henrietta began publishing a quarterly journal called The Bohemian. She also opened up her own home on East Belknap Street as an unofficial library before Ft. Worth had one of it's own. The Bohemian featured stories, literary critiques, poetry and many pictures of local residents and Ft. Worth surroundings. In the 1900 Federal Census, Henrietta proudly referred to her occupation as "author."

In 1904, Henri, as she was called, published an enormous 246 page edition of The Bohemian commemorating the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. It was the size of a coffee table book and printed on such fine paper that it still exists today. Texashistory.Unt.Edu is a fantastic website on Texas state history where all sorts of treasures await to be viewed including many pages of stories, photographs and illustrations from The Bohemian. Henri always featured her own writing in each edition along with a few cleverly placed illustrations of herself.  Note this "not so subtle" cover below as she keeps the arts and letters at a high standard indeed!

You have to give the lady credit. I've viewed a few of the original publications which are housed at the Ft. Worth Public Library. There are also some images housed at the Amon Carter Museum. The Bohemian is a lengthy and colorful reference guide to the era and the city of Ft Worth. Henrietta  was a tremendous supporter of the local arts community and staunch preservationist of it's heritage.  As she states on the cover of the 1904 World's Fair Edition, "The Fruit of My Pen Is My Offering." Henrietta Clay Ligon Gorman was most certainly an early  liberated woman of her time.


  1. Melinda, this is fantastic! I can certainly see where you get your showmanship and hutzpah! Her name is Ligon! Any kin to Kevin Ligon?

  2. This is amazing, Thank You
    We are interested because we have a Street Newspaper here in Fort Worth called The Journey Street Newspaper. A nonprofit that focuses on issues faced by the homeless and low income communities as well as other disenfranchised peoples

  3. Melinda, I'm doing some research on Henri Gorman, would you be available to correspond? My email is