He was interested in history and it was he who organized the first
state historical society for Mississippi. He also enjoyed the pleas-
ures and stimuli of travel, making trips into the East and into
the Middle West.
This is the region and this is the man produced by Professor
Sydnor in this book, and it is difficult to determine which stands
out more clearly. It is no reflection on Professor Sydnor's biograph-
ical method to raise the doubt. A close-up on Wailes would have
made him more vivid, but what is lost in vividness by a different
method is gained in the recreating of a region which has never
before been so ably treated. Professor Sydnor was fortunate in
having a great many Wailes manuscripts and an extensive diary
for the last ten years of Wailes' life. It is needless to add that he
has used all the evident material to support his structure, other
manuscript collections and a great variety of printed sources such
as newspapers, state documents, travel books, historical articles,
and other books. Professor Sydnor has written in a clear and
E. MERTON COULTER.
University of Georgia.
The Birth of the Oil Industry. By Paul H. Giddens. With an
introduction by Ida M. Tarbell. (New York: The Mac-
millan Co. 1938. Pp. xxxix, 216. $4.00.)
"The Birth of the Oil Industry" by Paul H. Giddens of Alle-
gheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania (Meadville is only some
thirty miles from Titusville where the Drake well was drilled in
1859), is a charmingly written history of the first decade of the
American oil industry. Having the advantage of knowledge of
the local region, together with accumulated local sources of infor-
mation, the author has presented in a balanced perspective the
essentials of how the oil industry began. In addition, Ida M. Tarbell
has contributed a twenty-seven page introduction which adds a
distinctive feature to the volume.
Petroleum had been known in western Pennsylvania and western
New York, as well as elsewhere, long before the Drake well was
drilled at Titusville in 1859. With this well, however, the oil
industry as an industry had its beginnings, and, in the decade fol-
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/. Accessed December 22, 2013.