THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXIII JULY, 1959 No. i
scudder 's Joae to eras, 1859
ELLEN BARTLETT BALLOU*
N THE WINTER OF 1859 three young men, one from Boston, the
other two from New York, set out on a trip to Texas. The
Bostonian was Horace Elisha Scudder, a Williams graduate.
Recently turned twenty-one, he went as tutor for the two younger
men, Theodore Gilman and George Ring. Theodore, a freshman
at Scudder's alma mater, had weak lungs and his father, W. S.
Gilman, the banker, deciding that his son should avoid the rigors
*EDITOR's NOTE: This narrative is based on the journal which Horace Elisha
Scudder kept of a trip he made to Texas in 1859, shortly after having graduated
from Williams College. At the time, Scudder was approaching the threshold of his
remarkable career as one of the nation's most prolific and influential writers and
editors. Following the Texas trip, he taught in New York for three years before
beginning his connection as literary advisor and editor for Houghton Mifflin and
its predecessors-Hurd and Houghton, and Houghton Osgood-an association that
lasted from 1864 to 9o.02 While engaged in these activities, and simultaneously
serving as editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 18go to 1898, Scudder produced a
monumental literary series whose bibliographic listings range from children's books
to belles lettres, biography, history, and the editing of the eight-volume works of
John G. Whittier (1894). As his final achievement, Scudder wrote a two-volume
life of James Russell Lowell (1goi).
In his editorial capacity particularly, Scudder's contribution to American art and
his influence on American life generally have been so penetrating that their extent
can scarcely be adequately assayed. He was in the vanguard of those who cham-
pioned American literature for Americans in the 1870's against the concentrated
opposition of cultural reactionaries who observed writing with an artistic myopia
that stopped short at the west coast of the British Isles. As early as 1875, Scudder
was advocating that American literature be taught in the colleges, and under his
tutelage, Houghton Mifflin acquired through purchase the greatest single list of
American authors. Through Scudder's efforts, Longfellow, Lowell, Whittier, and
Hawthorne were introduced in the high school courses, and the Riverside Literature
Series, which so far as the writer has been able to determine represented the first
educational paper backs, proved to be a profitable venture for the publishers and
of incalculable value to the cultural welfare of the nation.
To Scudder's daughter, Mrs. Ingersoll Bowditch, 71 Woodland Road, Jamaica
Plain, Massachusetts, who generously made all of her father's diaries available for
the preparation of a study of his critical writing, Ellen Bartlett Ballou expresses
sincere appreciation. All quotations reproduced herein were taken verbatim from
the original with the permission of Mrs. Bowditch.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/. Accessed October 23, 2014.