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Elisabet Ney

In the early days of southern Brazoria County, schools were named for famous Texan pioneers – Stephen F. Austin, R. O-Hara Lanier, Oran Roberts, A.P. Beutel, 1961, Brazosport school officials renamed Lake Jackson Primary School after an important early Texan woman, Elisabet Ney.


Elisabet Ney was born in 1833 in Munich, Germany, and was very outspoken on women’s rights for her day. Although she married Edmund Montgomery in 1863, she refused to take his name, and often denied she was even married. She once remarked, “Women are fools to be bothered with housework. Look at me; I sleep in a hammock which requires no making up. I break an egg and sip it raw. I make lemonade in a glass, and then rinse it, and my housework is done for the day.” She wore pants and rode horses astride as men did.


She became a celebrated sculptor in Germany, and when she was 39 years of age, she and her husband emigrated from Germany to Texas. She became an art pioneer in Texas, and her most famous works during her Texas period were life-size marble figures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, commissioned for the Texas State Capitol. A large group of her works is housed in the Elisabet Ney Museum, located in her home and studio in Austin. Other works can be found in the US Capitol, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and numerous collections in Germany.


And…it is “Elisabet” a German spelling, – not “Elizabeth”. Something tells me that after learning about her character, she may correct us on that one. 


Ney died in 1907 in Austin. Four years after her death, friends founded the Texas Fine Arts Association in her honor.

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