Among the 2019 Preservation Dallas Awards handed out at a ceremony on May 31, perhaps none are more deserving than writer Paula Bosse, who won the Preservation Education Award for her historical blog Flashback: Dallas.
A lifelong Dallas resident and history junkie, Bosse brilliantly developed her own eclectic brand for sharing local lore by launching Flashback: Dallas in 2014. It has become a valuable site that raises awareness of regional history, with an ever-growing audience.
"Last time I checked the numbers, I had over 10,000 followers across various social media platforms and had surpassed 1 million page views of the blog," Bosse says. "Those might not be earthshaking numbers in terms of internet reach, but it's pretty amazing to me. Who would have thought that many people would be interested in what is, let's face it, a fairly esoteric topic?"
Presentation is everything. Despite Bosse's well-researched and cited work, there is nothing esoteric about her writings. Between her conversational writing style, storytelling talent, and often quirky humor, Bosse has the innate ability to make history informative-yet-entertaining to a vast reading audience.
Bosse paints history with a broad brush. In the past five years, she has published about 1,000 online articles covering a wide scope of historical topics – ranging from buildings, businesses, and events to people, houses, and neighborhoods.
"Really, if it's somehow related to Dallas and it happened before the 1970s, [which is] my arbitrary cut-off time period, it’s something I might write about," Bosse says.
Her June 19 post on famed socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, who died on June 17, is typical. She unearths a number of Dallas connections, including the fact that Baruch Lumet, father of her third husband Sidney Lumet, was director of the Dallas Institute of Performing Arts, where he taught acting for 10 years.
Her blog has also impacted local preservation projects such as the the Rosenfield House, better known as the Blue House, one of Dallas' oldest residences that was in danger of being razed. Bosse wrote about the house in 2016, when a campaign was launched to save the aging Queen Anne Victorian mansion. It ended up being rescued by Dallas developer Mark Martinek who moved it to a new location.
Initially, friends encouraged her to write an offbeat book about Dallas. She considered using blog posts to compile a book of her work. At the rate Bosse is amassing blog posts, however, she'll soon have enough written material to fill a pop-up library.
But books and history are at Bosse's core. Her late father Dick Bosse owned The Aldredge Book Store, a popular antiquarian bookstore located next to the Stoneleigh Hotel that specialized in books on Texas history and the West, in addition to offering general used books.
After growing up in the book environment, Bosse followed in the family business. Besides owning her own used bookstore for several years, she worked for a couple of large retail bookstore chains as well as for an auction house where she was a rare book cataloger.
"I really wish I'd known when I was a kid that I was going to be spending so much time in the future writing about Dallas history," Bosse says. "I would have taken advantage of my father's really great collection of books and ephemera on Dallas history, most of which are long out of print and are now very hard to find."
A version of this story originally was published on CandysDirt.com.