The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964

Book Reviews

the book in continuing historical perspective. Also retained are
the detailed bibliographical descriptions that establish immedi-
ately the provenance of the individual documents selected for
reproduction.
Obviously the total panoramic sweep of Texas history as it is
reflected in the millions of documents currently preserved in both
private and public archives cannot be reproduced in detail in a
single volume of 293 pages. The attainment of this impossible
goal, however, was not the objective of Documents of Texas His-
tory. It was conceived as a good selective source book, which
it is, and it will answer a great many needs for several years.
CHESTER V. KIELMAN
The University of Texas Archives
Wyatt Earp, the Untold Story, 1848 to x880. By Ed Bartholomew.
Toyahvale, Texas (Frontier Book Company), 1963- Pp. 328.
Notes. $6.oo.
Ed Bartholomew wrecks more devastatingly than has anyone
else the false legend of Wyatt Earp, which hack writers have been
building up for more than three decades. The legend started when
Stuart N. Lake interviewed Earp in his dotage and idolized him
in a fictionized biography that ran in the Saturday Evening Post
and appeared in book form in 1931. Earp, suffering from faulty
memory and extreme egotism, made himself the hero of situations
in which he never appeared. Lake, who should have known better,
gullibly swallowed the Earp story without much effort to check
it with objective sources. Later the falsity was compounded by
pulp writers and movie and television scenarists.
This virtual deification of an ordinary policeman, who had
been in jail in several states on various charges, was bound to
bring a reaction. In recent years the Earp myth has been exploded
by several reliable historians, including Nyle H. Miller, execu-
tive secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society. Bartholomew
goes further than the others, not only disproving with docu-
mented evidence the Earp claims but bringing to light new inci-
dents that reveal Earp in unsavory roles. He shows that Earp, who
had been born in Illinois in 1848, obtained his first police job
when elected constable of Lamar, Missouri, in 187o. But he left

623

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/. Accessed August 20, 2014.