The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ously observant of their customs and practices, and in his narra-
tive he records rich details of Comanche life before it was sig-
nificantly influenced by contact with white men. Such accounts
are scarce today, being found usually in rare books unavailable
to the average reader.
Three Years among the Comanches furnishes a glimpse into the
living stuff of which history is made. The tale is worth the telling.
ROBERT LEE WILLIAMSON
Lee College
Minor and Major Mansions and Their Companions in Early
Austin: A Sequel. By August Watkins Harris. Austin (Von
Boeckmann-Jones), 1958. Twenty-two illustrations, io draw-
ings. Edition limited to 300 copies. $25.
It may safely be predicted that this sequel to the author's first
volume on some of the old houses of Austin will be received with
as much favor and enthusiasm as greeted his initial effort in
1955. The present work first takes up six private dwellings of
the era of the 1850's; three are the work of the master builder
Colonel Abner Cook, local designer and accomplished director
of craftsmen. For each house Mr. Harris has supplied perspective
drawings of front or front and side elevations, and for most he
gives floor plans. The accompanying text matter is informative
and deeply interesting and touches on the details of origin, con-
struction, original ownership, and later history. Some welcome
indirect light is incidentally shed on the social conditions and
local ways of life by data furnished in these concise descriptions.
Mr. Harris has painstakingly gone back to tradition and to record
sources for his information, and his writing displays abundant
indications of a cautious, probing approach in his quest for sound
knowledge relating to his subject.
Fascinating details on the use of particular sites, in relation
to compass points, the natural air-conditioning made possible by
an intelligent utilization of prevailing wind drainage, and the
employment of direction of slope for maximum benefit of house-
holders, are perceptively brought out. These old-time builders
knew, for an example, that dwellings facing slightly south of
east were sited best for the optimum production of living comfort,
in this particular locale. Thus oriented, the east veranda be-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed October 31, 2014.