The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947

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The Fergusons of Texas. By Ouida Ferguson Nalle. San An-
tonio (The Naylor Co.), 1946. Pp. xvi+272. $3.00.
From the day in 1914 when he announced as a candidate for
governor until his death in 1944 James E. Ferguson was a
power in Texas politics. During this thirty-year period he was
a candidate for office on five occasions and actively campaigned
for his wife on five other occasions. In these ten campaigns the
'Fergusons won four victories, and together occupied the gov-
ernor's mansion for six years and seven months. The campaigns
of Mrs. Ferguson were made necessary by the fact that Fer-
guson was impeached and convicted in 1917 and made ineligi-
ble to hold state office.
It is probable that a career so unusual will in time be made
the subject of numerous biographical studies, of which the
present biography, written by a daughter of the Fergusons, is
the first. Mrs. Nalle devotes some time to the career of her
mother, but most of the book is the story of her father. The
tone of the study is well indicated in the foreword by Col. Alvin
M. Owsley, when he says of the author that she "seemed ever
to draw nearer to her beloved parents-to 'Daddy' who could
do no wrong, and to 'Mama' who, of course, was always right."
The Fergusons of Texas does not pretend to be a comprehen-
sive biography, nor is it a history of the Ferguson period. It
is valuable as a presentation of the point of view of the Fer-
guson family, and it is quite interesting. Ferguson appears as
a man who found great pleasure and happiness in his family.
He also found pleasure in the give and take of a political cam-
paign.
Persons who knew "Farmer Jim" only as a political figure
will be interested in knowing that he never learned to drive an
automobile, that he played the piano, the violin, and other
musical instruments "by ear," and that he made occasional
entries in a diary during the last fifteen years of his life. Mrs.
Ferguson appears as a much stronger character than campaign
oratory had indicated, and the author contends that she was by
no means a figurehead during her two terms as governor.
The greatest weakness in this story of the Fergusons is its
failure to discuss carefully many of the controversial issues of

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed November 21, 2014.