“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 30 minutes, to use your mind for whatever you’re working on. ALWAYS be working on something.”
Bess W. 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. 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. West died in 2005 after serving many years on the scholarship committee.
Scott 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.
When Scott reached 100 in 1990, the Writers’ League of Texas honored her with a celebration. At that time, a scholarship was established in her name. The Bess Whitehead Scott Journalism Scholarship is awarded annually to an upper level journalism major. A second scholarship for writers age 40 and older was established in 2000.
Scott died on December 27, 1997, at the age of 107. She left behind a legacy of excellence and diligence that is a model for today’s students in the field of journalism and writing.