Dallas: Kinship, Mobility, and Inheritance in an Elite Population, 1895-1945


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project provides the first-ever full kinship map of an upper-class population in a US city. Population-level studies of elites usually measure families patrilineally, but this study systematically includes women, finding that over half of Dallas high society from 1895-1945 was related in a single web, encompassing most of the city’s wealthy, powerful, and high-status people. The data challenges conventional notions about elites: families characterized as “new money” were often wealthy and enmeshed in elite kin networks from birth, and family fortunes thought to “naturally” dissipate over a few generations remained trapped in the family web through kin ties between and with women. The dissertation is structured in three linked papers that will serve as the basis for a book.