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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

convergence, wherein three inventions-the revolver, the windmill,
and barbed wire-converged to make possible the settlement of the
arid plains by humans.
Thus I was understandably excited, during a trip to Austin, to find
Dr. Webb at his desk in Garrison Hall. As he had his hat on, I had no
idea if he were coming or going. It made no difference! Before me sat
the man-a legend in his own time, the mainspring of my socio-historical
career, the great disciple of Lindley Miller Keasbey, who was an inno-
vative proponent of institutional history, which I suspected had a kin-
ship to sociology.' As quickly as possible, I mentioned Ogburn's use of
Webb's theory of convergence.
Dr. Webb (and the hat) turned a Buster Keaton-like deadpan face to
me and said, "What in the hell is the theol-y of convergence?"
'Webb took courses inm institutional history from Keasbey at the Umniversity of Texas and paid
tribute to him min his presidential address, "History as High Adventure," American Historical Re-
view, LXIV (Jan., 1959), 268.
My Webbian Conversion
My first reaction was to refuse the invitation of the Program Commit-
tee to participate as a member of the panel saluting Walter Prescott
Webb on the occasion of the centennial of his birth. Such a discussion, it
would seem, should focus upon close personal relationships and trea-
sured memories of Dr. Webb by those who knew him best. This reac-
tion, therefore, was prompted by the realization that I had not experi-
enced such a relationship, as many others had done.
Borrowing the language of the highway, in my travel through college
and thereafter, the contacts between Dr. Webb and myself were more
of the nature of a sideswipe. This rather glancing encounter, however,
has had a lasting and permanent effect upon my thoughts and many of
my personal aspirations. I submit there are thousands of grateful people
who, like myself, come under the category of "the sideswiped," and I
speak here on their behalf.
My personal relationship with Dr. Webb was limited to that of an un-
dergraduate student in a three-hour history course given by him at the
University of Texas in 1933. This course covered the history of the
*Jenkins Garrett is president of the Texas State Historical Association and an attorney and
collector in Fort Worth. These comments were given during a panel discussion focusing on
Walter Prescott Webb at the Association's annual meeting in Austin on March 5, 1988.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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