The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

The Texan of z86o

mended for the cure of debility, natural decay, colic, and decline."
One begins to compare with Hadacol, but the ad goes on to say
that as a drink it "counteracts the evil effects of overindulgence
and excess ... is not an INTOXICATING beverage but the safest as
well as the most harmless alcoholic drink in existence."
The Census lists three professional booksellers, and the Alma-
nac carried notices for three bookdealers: Julius Berends of San
Antonio, James Burke in Houston, and in Galveston, Francis D.
Allen, who carried magazines, Bibles, lawbooks, valentines priced
from five cents to fifteen dollars, and Yoakum's History of Texas
(strongly bound in sheep at $5) . Olmstead had found Austin well
supplied with a number of drinking and gambling shops but not
one bookstore. The druggist, who kept a small stock of books,
sold him a copy of Eagle Pass for a dollar, the price elsewhere,
according to Olmstead, being forty cents. Planters and profes-
sional families probably ordered their magazines and general
reading material through New Orleans or direct from the east
coast. Whatever the absent soldier bought or read at home, he
absorbed all the printed material he could find. John C. West
wrote to his sister in Austin from his Confederate camp:
You will observe we have a good deal of time to think while in camp,
and some time to read, too. I have read lately, "The Autocrat of
the Breakfast Table," "Aurora Leigh," "Davenport Dunn," "Les Miser-
ables" by Victor Hugo, and innumerable articles in magazines, which
I have picked up in waste places. I now have on hand "Tasso's Jeru-
salem Delivered," which belongs to our quartermaster. I have carried
a Bible and Milton in my knapsack all the time, so you see we are not
absolutely illiterate.20
Austin was the capital, but it was still a frontier town. Amelia
Barr described the life of the women there as a "joyous, genial
existence" and commented on local culture:
In 1856, I knew of only two pianos in the city of Austin, one was
in the Governor's mansion, the other belonged to a rich Jewish family
called Henricks. I think there were certainly more scattered in the
large lonely planter's houses outside the city ... books were not ob-
vious in private houses; and if there had been any literary want felt,
there was wealth enough to have satisfied it.21
20John Camden West, A Texan in Search of a Fight (Waco, 190go), 127.
21Amelia Barr, All the Days of My Life (New York, 1913), .o6-20o7.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed September 18, 2014.