W. P. Webb's Texas Rangers
LLERENA B. FRIEND*
F OR THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS Ex-STUDENT ASSOCIATION'S Alcalde
of November, 1927, E. W. Winkler wrote a little article called "Dr.
Benedict in Print," which began,
The paper chase is an old game played by school boys. It has many
variations. The object is for the hounds to catch the hare that left a trail
of scattered bits of paper. No short cuts are allowed. But the hare may
work his rabbit foot to elude his pursuers. The preparation of a bibliog-
raphy of the writing of some distinguished man bears much resemblance
to this game. But it is quite impossible for the first attempt to result in a
This story of W. P. Webb's writings about the Texas Rangers is, in
a way, an effort to exercise the rabbit foot to produce a few more
titles including some which managed to elude pursuit by Margaret
Francine Morris in her careful Webb bibliography in Essays on the
American Civil War, a compilation of the first Walter Prescott Webb
Memorial Lectures at the University of Texas, Arlington.!
Use of the Morris bibliography and of the Webb materials in the
Archives Collection of the University of Texas Library, Austin, indi-
cates that Webb's writing practically began and ended with the
Rangers. Over fifty titles, including printed books, articles, introduc-
tions, excerpts, book reviews, and posthumous reprints concern the
subject. His unpublished manuscripts, including his master's thesis,
add at least four more Ranger titles.
The importance of relating the history of the research and writing
of The Texas Rangers and articles about the Rangers may be moot at
this point. For one thing, the Ranger book does not hold first place in
esteem among the items of the Webb bibliography. Webb once said
*Llerena B. Friend, professor emeritus of history of the University of Texas, Austin,
and former director of the Barker Texas History Center, is the author of Sam Houston:
The Great Designer. She recently compiled and edited Talks on Texas Books (published
by the Association), a collection of Walter Prescott Webb's book reviews from the Inter-
1The Alcalde, XVI (November, 1927), 11-12.
$"Walter Prescott Webb, 1889-1963: A Bibliography" in William F. Holmes and Harold
M. Hollingsworth (eds.), Essays on the American Civil War (Austin, 1968), 88-1o7.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed February 27, 2015.