H. BAILEY CARROLL
S INCE THE TIME I WROTE MY MASTER'S THESIS IN 1928 I have
always thought that the most celebrated fire in Texas ought
to have been that of Molly McCabe's place at Fort Griffin.
But presently I would contend that the most disastrous fire of
which I have knowledge, was the one which consumed my home
in Austin on the early morning of May 29, 1961. The fire was so
destructive to home and books that it only took the insurance
inspectors thirty minutes that morning to declare the house and
contents a total loss.
In my early days I was familiar with a long established frontier
custom of "pounding the preacher," and at least in one instance
the custom was converted into a "pounding of the teacher." My
father, J. Speed Carroll, was the beneficiary of that "pounding"
in Whitney, Texas. In so far as I know there had not been another
"pounding of the teacher" between 1907 and 1961. In early
August, however, members of the history department at the
University of Texas combined with the executive council of the
Texas State Historical Association and a few other personal friends
of mine to "pound" me with seventeen of the finest selections of
Texana available. My feelings about their act are perhaps best
expressed in this copy of a letter of appreciation, with a list of
the books attached.
Dr. Pat Nixon August 30, 1961
523 Medical Professional Bldg.
San Antonio, Texas
Dear Dr. Nixon:
A few days ago I received one of the most pleasant surprises of my
life. I refer to being "pounded" with Texas books by my colleagues,
associates, and friends. The burns on my body had healed without
scar, but the loss of my books was still a raw and open wound to my
spirit. Books have always been much more than mere possessions to
me; they have been a part of my life-a part of my very being.
The books which I now have as the result of your generosity are
doubly appreciated. It gives me great pleasure again to have for my
own beautiful copies of some of the finest writing about Texas. I am
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed February 28, 2015.