Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist by Debra L. Winegarten

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Today it might be somewhat taken for granted but, when Oveta Culp Hobby was growing up it simply never happened. Well, rarely if ever!

Being first or different was not her goal in life. She was achievement driven in a time period where women stayed home, they simply did not place themselves in the realm of a “man’s world.”

Firsts were a norm for her! She was the first head of the Women’s Army Corp, the first Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (appointed by Dwight Eisenhower). Only one other woman had served in a cabinet post prior to her.

Far too many books are written that miss the mark when it comes to encouraging women to do and be more. Debra Winegarten in “Oveta Culp Hobby: Colonel, Cabinet Member, Philanthropist” has written a guide for women to follow and Oveta Culp Hobby is clearly an example worth emulating. More than a biography it will encourage the reader to not see obstacles but rather opportunities.

Her positive approach too, and life long quest for learning is a clear road map for all young women. Victimhood is a poor substitute for desire and effort, Ovita Culp Hobby showed the way with a continuing display of accomplishment.    

Reviewed by: jim greenwald (2015)


Author's Synopsis

Oveta Culp Hobby (1905–1995) had a lifetime of stellar achievement. During World War II, she was asked to build a women’s army from scratch—and did. Hobby became Director of the Women’s Army Corps and the first Army woman to earn the rank of colonel. President Eisenhower chose her as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, making her the second woman in history to be appointed to a president’s cabinet. When she wasn’t serving in the government, Hobby worked with her husband, former Texas governor William P. Hobby, to lead a media empire that included the Houston Post newspaper and radio and TV stations. She also supported the Houston community in many ways, from advocating for civil rights for African Americans to donating generously to the Houston Symphony and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Oveta Culp Hobby is the first biography of this important woman. Written for middle school readers, it traces her life from her childhood in Killeen to her remarkable achievements in Washington, DC, and Houston. Debra Winegarten provides the background to help young adult readers understand the times in which Hobby lived and the challenges she faced as a woman in nontraditional jobs. She shows how Hobby opened doors for women to serve in the military and in other professions that still benefit women today. Most of all, Oveta Culp Hobby will inspire young adults to follow their own dreams and turn them into tangible reality.