Patterns of Space, Time, and Theme Inscribed in Texas Official Historical Markers




Choi, Yusik

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Texas Official Historical Markers are small, durable monuments inscribed with commemorative texts authorized by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). This study analyzes the spatial, temporal, and thematic patterns of Texas markers to explore their characteristics and significance within the broader framework of commemoration in the United States and commemoration in general. The data used in this study consist of more than sixteen thousand markers and two million words, which I analyzed with an interdisciplinary methodology that combines corpus linguistics, narratology, and Geographic Information Science. After a long preprocessing stage, which is described in the Introduction, the analysis began with a study of the marker’s spatial, temporal, and thematic patterns. These patterns are in significant part determined by the celebration of the anniversaries of the Texas Revolution (1836) and the Civil War (1861–1865). In terms of themes, the most notable change in Texan practices of commemoration is the transition from war to peace, which occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. In terms of location, markers tend to be concentrated in urban areas. The following chapter is dedicated to topics of race and ethnicity. The terms “indian” and “mexican” are particularly loaded with negative connotations, while other groups are generally described in positive or neutral sentiments, or ignored. Finally, I examined the materiality of the Texas markers. Historical markers of the type used in Texas are smaller than most other commemorative facilities (e.g., statues and monuments) and are subject to frequent relocations and text edits. A comparison of Texan materiality (state) to Germany (country) and Seoul (city) reveals both similarities and differences between these programs. Overall, results indicate that the uniqueness of Texas stems from the interaction between diverse identity groups in a frontier borderland, while its commemorative patterns fit into a broader national narrative. This study contributes to the geographies of commemoration by demonstrating how to deal with “big data” using an inductive approach.



commemoration, corpus linguistics, GIS, historical marker, narrative


Choi, Y. (2023). Patterns of space, time, and theme inscribed in Texas official historical markers (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI