The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

library-directed women's clubs, or the library itself. Less defens-
ible-because it violates the limits of the work set by the title-
is the space given to the Houston Public Library's development
since 1904.
The account, in short, is a potentially useful depiction of
nineteenth-century cultural advance in Houston that would
have been more valuable if greater attention had been given
to editing and the maintaining of perspective.
SAM A. SUHLER
Austin, Texas
Wagons East. By C. Richard King. Austin (School of Journalism
Development Program, The University of Texas), 1965.
Pp. 59. Bibliography.
It is doubtful whether any subject is discussed more frequently
in the Southwest, day in and day out, than the weather. This is
partly because the climate of the southern part of the Great
Plains has often taken extreme forms, bringing widespread pov-
erty, destitution, suffering, and even death to the inhabitants of
that vast region. The annual growth rings of trees, according
to Professor W. Eugene Hollon of the University of Oklahoma,
indicate that the Southwest has experienced at least fourteen
major drouths since 1539, and each has lasted at least half a
decade. The drouth of the 188o's lasted almost the entire decade,
but the worst years for West Texans were the years 1886 and
1887. That drouth, especially, had a tremendous impact upon
the history of the region since pioneer farmers and ranchers
were moving out on the southern plains, attempting to carve an
agrarian-oriented civilization out of a barren and wind-swept
wilderness. Those pioneers encountered no dearth of hardships
at best, but the arrival of drouth conditions in a region already
suffering from a shortage of rainfall spelled total disaster for
most of the inhabitants.
C. Richard King's Wagons East is the story of that drouth
in West Texas during 1886 and 1887, with emphasis upon
press leadership during the time of disaster. This work is the
twelfth publication by the School of Journalism Development
Program at the University of Texas. Little extensive research has
been done, and the study is highly localized, but the extent of

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed October 22, 2014.