A Pictorial History of Texas. By Herbert and Virginia Gambrell.
New York (E. P. Dutton & Company), 196o0. Pp. 2 17, includ-
ing 341 illustrations, index. $6.95.
For the reader who wants a quick and authentic Texas history,
with pictures, here is your book. The authors are a Dallas couple
well known in the field of history. Herbert Gambrell, tall and
erudite, is a professor of history at Southern Methodist Univer-
sity, the author of several books on Texas history. Petite Virginia
Gambrell, just as learned as her husband, collected the pictures
and did the interesting layout. She directs the Hall of State on the
fairgrounds at Dallas.
Scholars may scoff that the Gambrells' picture history is super-
ficial. Indeed, it is brief and simple. But it is authentic, fast-
moving and with an unusually human approach to the sometimes
dry bones of historical fact.
Example: The account of the "Pig War" at Austin in 1840
between Count de Saligny, Ambassador of France, and Innkeeper
Richard Bullock, which caused the impoverished Republic of
Texas to miss a $5,ooo,ooo loan.
Fundamentally this is a Texas history for laymen.
The illustrations are gathered from sources ranging from oil
company magazine sketches by E. M. Schiwetz (himself the artist
for a recent book on Texas) to the State Archives and various
The illustrations were somewhat distracting to this reader,
whose eyes frequently strayed from the text to the photographs
of historical documents. Some of these were too indistinct to be
read. This word-and-picture layout was doubtless intentional,
and it provides a new mode of absorbing history.
Dr. Gambrell does a splendid job of telescoping Texas' story
from the shipwreck of Cabeza de Vaca on Galveston Island in
1528 to the "Seven Cities of Cibola" in 1960. Included are the
196o United States Census figures for the latter cities-Austin,
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/. Accessed May 27, 2015.