Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

The Writers’ League of Texas (WLT) created the original Bess W. Scott Scholarship Fund in 1990 to honor a pioneering Texas writer and journalist (see below) on the occasion of her 100th birthday. In 2000, a second annual award, the Scott Scribes, was added to give preference to an older, nontraditional student or writer studying journalism, nonfiction writing or a related field. In 2011, the Fund was transferred to the Austin Community Foundation (ACF). Since 2020 the scholarship’s administrative home has been the Headliners Foundation of Texas.

The Headliners Foundation has promoted excellence in journalism since 1983 and now awards nearly 20 journalism scholarships a year and recognizes outstanding work by professional journalists. Here’s how to get more information and to apply for the Bess Whitehead Scott Scribes Scholarship.

In 2021, the WLT originated the annual Bess Whitehead Scott Creative Writing Fellowship which is financed by WLT and independent of the Scott Scribes Scholarship. The Fellowship provides one writer age 40 and over the opportunity to take WLT craft classes, connect to the larger literary community and learn about the business of writing. Each fellow carries forward the spirit of Bess Whitehead Scott, who was a WLT member and friend, and a trailblazer who served as inspiration to so many.

Affiliations & Donations

You may donate to WLT’s Bess Whitehead Scott Creative Writing Fellowship here.

The endowment created in the name of Bess Whitehead Scott is housed with the Austin Community Foundation (ACF), which accepts donations for the Scott Scribes Scholarship. ACF is a major philanthropic institution that serves as adviser and fund administrator to more than 900 charitable funds.

The Headliners Foundation also accepts donations for the Scott Scribes Scholarship. Click on the yellow Donate button, then in the Scholarships box click on the Bess W. Scott Scribes Scholarship. For information about the scholarship or donating through the Headliners Foundation, call 512-445-4520.

About Bess Whitehead Scott

“Write!” was the advice of Bess Whitehead Scott to aspiring writers. “Just don’t waste time. Don’t read too many articles about writing. The main thing is to write. No matter whether you do it well or not – WRITE. Give some time every day of the world, if it’s not but thirty minutes, to use your mind for whatever you’re working on. ALWAYS be working on something.”

Bess Whitehead Scott received numerous awards during her life and was recognized for her accomplishments by several organizations. She was named in 1994 to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for her pioneering spirit as a journalist and writer. Recognized in 1992 as a Distinguished Alumna of Baylor University 80 years after her graduation, she also was honored in 1992 as an Outstanding Alumna from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, which she attended the first three years of college.

Her career started in 1915. Having no background in newspaper work, she landed a job at The Houston Post as the first woman news reporter in Houston. Her career at the Post spanned 25 years, but her accomplishments extended beyond news reporting. One of her many accomplishments was encouraging a young student, Felton West, to enter the newspaper business in the 1940s. He worked for The Houston Post for 53 years. 

She taught journalism at Milby High School in Houston, wrote two journalism textbooks, traveled to Hollywood where she wrote screenplays for two-reel silent movies, and ran an advertising firm during World War II. Texas A & M University Press published her autobiography You Meet Such Interesting People in 1989 when Bess was 99 years old.

Scott continued writing as a freelancer past her 100th birthday. She died December 27, 1997, at age 107 leaving a legacy of excellence and diligence as a model for today’s journalists and writers.