The original Handbook was the brainchild of TSHA President Walter Prescott Webb of The University of Texas history department. It was published as a two-volume set in 1952, with a supplemental volume published in 1976.
In 1996, the New Handbook of Texas was published, expanding the encyclopedia to six volumes and over 23,000 articles.
In 1999, the Handbook of Texas Online went live with the complete text of the print edition, all corrections incorporated into the handbook's second printing, and about 400 articles not included in the print edition due to space limitations. The handbook continues to be updated online, and contains over 25,000 articles. The online version includes entries on general topics, such as "Texas Since World War II", biographies such as notable Texans Samuel Houston and , ranches such as the , and geographical entries such as "Waco, Texas".
Many Texas scholars and professors, such as and Art Martinez de Vara, have contributed to the Handbook.
- "The Handbook of Texas Online". Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. ISBN 0-87611-151-7. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- Texas Since World War II from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- Houston, Samuel from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
- Waco, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2008-12-20.