KAREN GERHARDT FORT (MA, Baylor University, 1997) is the author of Bale O’ Cotton: The Mechanical Art of Cotton Ginning (Texas A&M University Press, 1992; reprint, 2015), as well as five books for Arcadia Publishing about towns in the Rio Grande Valley. She has had two articles published by North and South magazine regarding the Civil War in Texas and has conducted background research for a documentary film about the Civil War. A Feast of Reason (State House Press, 2017) is a biography based upon the Civil War journal kept by a planter/merchant in East Texas. She has contributed to the Civil War Trail project by the CHAPS program at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley through her podcast segment about Fort Ringgold. A retired museum director, she researched, designed, and installed exhibits for the Robert E. Lee House Museum at Fort Ringgold for the Rio Grande City C.I.S.D. She continues to write books about the cotton industry and the Civil War as it was experienced in Texas. She also makes jewelry, collages, and art journals.