The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

tional vortex of Russell's expression, observing that Russell "infused his
work with a profound sense of what that [Western] life was all about."
Dippie provides a great service by reopening the chapter on Russell as
an artist, a subject, in fact, that was vigorously debated two generations
ago when the artist was alive to enjoy the commentary.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center PETER H. HASSRICK
Tolbert of Texas: The Man and His Work. Edited by Evelyn Oppenheimer.
Foreword by Stanley Marcus. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian Univer-
sity Press, 1986. Pp. ix+356. Foreword, illustrations. $22.50, cloth;
$12.95, paper.)
Stanley Marcus, writing in the foreword, has paid a most appropriate
tribute to Frank Tolbert, whose daily column, "Tolbert's Texas," ap-
peared for many years in the Dallas Morning News: "Frank will be re-
membered as a journalist, as the chili 'aficionado' who helped elevate
this dish to its present position in Southwestern cuisine, as a writer of
books, and, above all, as a warm human being who probably never
heard a good story he didn't like" (p. vi).
Evelyn Oppenheimer's selected collection of Tolbert's work and her
brief biography of him provide a good memorial to the man who had
acquired friends and fans all over Texas during his travels for research
and pleasure. Excerpts from his books are included, along with a few of
his earlier stories. Of the books, A Bowl of Red, on chili, was no doubt
the most widely known, but I have always found The Day of San Jacinto
the most readable, because he told that story largely through the eyes
and lips of people who were there-by using their diaries, journals,
and other records left behind, in the manner used by many other writ-
ers of popular history in recent years.
But the most readable parts of this collection are the reprints of
"Tolbert's Texas," those brief, anecdotal newspaper pieces that Tolbert
could write with spirit. At Indian Hot Springs, "the state's most isolated
health resort," one hundred nearly inaccessible miles down the Rio
Grande from El Paso, he talked with Mrs. Jewell Babb, owner of a
twenty-two-room stone hotel, who told him of vanished days when visi-
tors might include John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and "one or two Vander-
bilts." In Turkey, Texas, he found Harold Ham, 1980 owner of the bar-
ber shop where Bob Wills (later the King of Western Swing) cut hair in
the 1920s for fifteen cents a head. Ham reminisced about those days
and pointed out the very barber chairs where Wills worked.
That's the Texas that Tolbert loved, and that loved Tolbert.

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Waco

JOHN EDWARD WEEMS

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed September 22, 2014.