The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

By the time Doug delivered the line drawing, however, Mr. Dobie
had another problem. He originally had made an agreement with Tom
Lea, of El Paso, to do the illustrations for him, and he had just received
from Lea an exquisite drawing of one of Ben Lilly's lethal-looking hunt-
ing knives-the one with the long, keen, pointed blade and the plaited
leather thong handle, "credited with having been stuck into 27 bears."
With the knife had come the disappointing news that Lea was now so
busy writing and illustrating a book of his own that he did not have
time to do any more illustrations for Dobie.
After Dobie had explained his predicament, he handed Doug an-
other one of Ben Lilly's knives. This one had a deer-horn handle and a
curved blade that would be equally as difficult to draw as the first knife
had been.
"What I want you to do, Doug," he said, "is to take this knife home
and make a scratchboard drawing of it just like Tom Lea did of this
other one."
"But," Doug objected, "I never had an hour of art training in my
"That doesn't make any difference," Dobie explained blandly. "You
just take a piece of two-ply white poster board, empty a bottle of black
India ink in the center of it, and wait until it dries. Then you take the
point of a sharp knife and scratch off the part that should not be there,
and what's left will be the knife."
Doug rose to the challenge, executed the drawing, and the result ap-
pears in that same volume, facing page 58, alongside Tom Lea's master-
piece. In the right-hand margin of our own copy, Doug wrote this in-
scription: "To Malcolm & Margaret who have humored and helped me
with my endless wild ventures over a period of many years. Douglas
Keith McLean. June 1, 1950."
An Afternoon with] J. Frank Dobie
A History of Rusk County, Texas was the first book published by Texian
Press. Written by Dorman H. Winfrey, who at the time of publication in
1961 was archivist for the University of Texas, this book led to an asso-
*Robert E. Davis, a publisher in Waco, Texas, is the former chairman of the Texas State Li-
brary and Archives Commission.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 28, 2015.