The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LIII JANUARY, 1950 No. 3
A Remaissace feHtleaH in Zexas
Votes ow the Cife and Cibrary of Swalte Pal
HARRY RANSOM
S WANTE PALM is the name on the fly-leaves of ten thousand
books. When Texas newspapers reported Palm's death in
Austin fifty years ago, his library-the largest private col-
lection of books made in Texas during the nineteenth century-
had been at the University only two years. The gift, made in
1897, had been recognized as an important contribution to public
education in the Southwest.' In terms of mere quantity, it was
a noble gift: Palm's books increased the University's library
shelves more than sixty per cent. His generosity came timely,
for the University was only fifteen years old-young enough to
benefit doubly by this provision. Moreover, the collection's sig-
nificance, especially in Scandinavian letters, was widely known;
so were the bibliographical zeal and intellectual attainments of
the man who had made the collection. Now a half-century calls
for new consideration of the man and his books.2
'The role played by private libraries in the early cultural development of the
State has not been fully studied. Similar to the Palm Library in many respects
are the collections made by Dr. Sherman Goodwin, who lived in Victoria from
1851 until his death in 1884 and whose interests ranged through materia medica
to Dickens and the culture of citrus fruit.
2Much of the material in this essay was included in a paper read at the 1949
meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. Another account based on parts
of that paper has been published in The American-Swedish Historical Foundation
Yearbook (Philadelphia, 1949). Printed sources of Palm's biography are meager;
among them are chapters in August Anderson's life of S. M. Swenson, Hyphenated
(Austin, 1916) and Mayme Evans's lively article, "Sir Svante Palm's Legacy to
Texas," The American Scandinavian Review (Spring, 1949), pp. 41-45. Information
for the present discussion of Palm and his books has been drawn largely from
contemporary newspapers, the University of Texas archives, court records in Austin
and La Grange, records in the keeping of the Reverend Chester Nelson of Austin,

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed September 22, 2014.