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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978

Book Reviews
The Handbook of Texas: A Supplement, Volume III. Edited by Eldon
Stephen Branda. (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1976.
Pp. xiv+ 1,145. Foreword, introduction. $35.)
One of the high points of the year 1959-1960, during which I was
on leave from the Boston Athenaeum to conduct a survey of historical
societies for the Council on Library Resources, was my first visit to
Austin, in the course of which I came to know J. Frank Dobie and
Walter Prescott Webb, as well as The Handbook of Texas, which the
Texas State Historical Association had published in 1952 as the result
of a project initiated in 1940 by Professor Webb. In my 1962 book
Independent Historical Societies, I referred to the Handbook as "a
unique and wholly admirable reference work" by which the Associa-
tion had "provided a model solution for the difficult task of making
accurate historical information widely available to anyone who may
have need for it," and expressed the hope that it would inspire "similar
ventures in co-operative scholarship in other states."
In an article on "Local History in the United States" that I wrote
for The Times Literary Supplement of 13 November 1970 I remarked:
"For preparing the best systematic work of reference on any of the
fifty United States, the palm must go to the Texas State Historical
Association for their two volume Handbook of Texas." I concluded
the article by suggesting that "Local history is admirable when its
subject is recognized as a microcosm, as an epitome of the great world",
and offering the names of Frank Dobie and of Reginald L. Hine, a
solicitor at Hitchin in Hertfordshire, as superlative practitioners of
that art. I soon had a letter from Peter Walne, F.S.A., the Archivist of
Hertfordshire, asking me to come to Hertford to see some of Hine's
papers which were in his custody. From that visit sprang a lasting
friendship, for Peter Walne and I have been visiting each other back
and forth across the Atlantic ever since.
When Professor Calvert asked me to review this Handbook Supple-
ment for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, I promptly accepted,
without any notion that my Times Literary Supplement article would

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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