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

J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb

As for his three visitors, Mrs. Dobie showed us to the door. All three
of us were "feeling no pain," both from the effects of the bourbon and
the rare opportunity of having a giant-size helping of J. Frank Dobie at
his best.
Mr. Dobie did the Bowie biography with as much care and effort as
he gave any book. He read the final proofs while in the hospital, mak-
ing a number of additions and corrections. The Jim Bowie biography
for the Heroes of Texas was the last published work of one of the greatest
writers of all time. J. Frank Dobie died September 18, 1964, only three
weeks before the release of the book.
Frank Dobie Remembered
Some people aren't going to believe this story about J. Frank Dobie
and me, although I think it is just the sort of thing he would do. I first
met Dobie in the pages of Coronado's Children, which I read at age ten.
As is usually the case with children, I hadn't much curiosity about the
author. Although there is a persistent "I" throughout the book, this
first-person narrator became just another character. The stories were
what kept me fascinated. But before too many years I recognized the
role of the author, that he not only narrated but composed and di-
rected these dramas of myth and legend, and I perceived that Dobie
produced this material marvelously.
Time passed. In 1952 I made the profound mistake many literary or
would-be literary people aspire to make: I got into the retail book busi-
ness. My store was in Abilene, and sometime in the second year I owned
it I saw a white-haired man (in a white suit) studying a wall of my books.
I hesitated to assume it was Dobie, even though I knew he was speaking
in nearby Sweetwater that night. Not being part of the literary scene,
and never having attended the University of Texas during the time he
was such a popular professor there, I didn't presume to introduce my-
self, but I did make the usual customer-oriented inquiry, "Can I help
you?" (I know, I know . .. it should have been, "May I help you?" But it
"Is this all the Texas books you have?" he asked me. I was embar-
rassed to admit that (a) I didn't have the money to stock a lot of Texana
and (b) his own publisher had cut off my credit, so I was out of his titles.
*A. C. Greene, writer and historian, is the author of A Personal Country and many other


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 30, 2015.