Southwestern Historical Quarterly
kept the two thick notebooks, one for each semester, through the years.
His pre-World War II description of the development of Western civi-
lization is a gem!
J. Frank Dobie was in England during part of my student tenure, but
even when he was on campus, I did not take one of his courses. I do
remember him well. He always attracted large groups of students wher-
ever he went. Large numbers attended his class, which was taught in
the big unairconditioned lecture hall in the physics building (now
Painter Hall). Passing by, one could often hear roars of laughter. I re-
member the day that Austin police finally told him he must pay his fines
for parking illegally or go to jail. Dobie had accumulated numerous
parking tickets and refused to honor them. When the police came to
collect his fines or take him in, he opted for the latter choice. Guitar in
hand and followed by his student cheering squad, he went to the city
jail. The publicity was exactly what the eccentric scholar wanted, and he
E. V. NIEMEYER, JR.*
As one who took a course under both J. Frank Dobie and Walter P.
Webb, it always gives me a certain amount of inward glow to let people
know how privileged I feel to have done this.
In the spring of 1941, I took Dobie's course "Life and Literature of
the Southwest." I enjoyed it thoroughly. Dobie was no great lecturer,
but his folksy manner had its appeal. The reading material was abun-
dant. I remember buying his book The Flavor of Texas and taking it over
to his office in old "B" Hall for him to autograph. When I got there, I
stopped short. Hanging on the door in such a way that one couldn't
open it without rattling them were the pelvic bones of a beef animal
and a sign reading: "CURSED BE YE WHO DISTURB THESE BONES." I was in
a quandry, to rattle or not to rattle. It might be the difference between
an A and a B for the course. As I recall now, nearly forty-seven years
later, I entered with cow bones clacking and there found a kind gentle-
man smoking a pipe, surrounded by shelves of books, who promptly
wrote "To Victor Niemeyer, whom I am mightily glad to have in Life
and Literature of the Southwest," signed "J. Frank Dobie." I guess he
wrote the same thing in all the books the students of this course brought
him to autograph. I still have the book. Dobie opened my mind to the
*E. V. Niemeyer, Jr., is a historian in the International Office at the University of Texas at
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed March 6, 2014.