Frank H. Wardlaw: A Tribute
Frank Wardlaw's family and friends gathered at Paisano, J. Frank
Dobie's ranch fourteen miles southwest of Austin on Barton Creek, to
pay tribute on August 16, 1989. Six friends and associates delivered the
following remarks as the sun set in the Texas Hill Country.
Frank Wardlaw, The Continuing Presence
JOHN H. KYLE
It was Emerson, I believe, who said that an institution was the length-
ening shadow of a man. The University of Texas Press is such an in-
stitution. Before 1950 it did not exist. There were virtually no books
that carried the imprimatur of the University of Texas, despite the fact
that its faculties regularly contributed to world learning through re-
search and publications.
Thanks to a fortuitous turn of events, about which you will hear
more later, Frank Wardlaw came to Austin in 1950 to start for the sec-
ond time in his career a scholarly publishing program. With no backlist,
few obvious prospects, and a miniscule budget he set forth to create a
publishing house in a jungle of government regulations and on a base
of bureaucratic quicksand.
In 1951 with a tiny staff he got out the first University of Texas Press
title: John and Jeanette Varner's translation of Garcilaso de la Vega's
The Florida of the Inca. Hitting the New York Tzmes and the History
Book Club, this first book set a very high standard for this fledgling
publishing house, a standard by which the next 700 odd titles were
measured over the following quarter-century of Frank's leadership, a
standard to which the press still aspires today, almost forty years later.
As the years passed and as the list grew, the press's development was
marked by many other distinguished titles which established the broad
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed January 31, 2015.