The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Nominations for sketches came from scholars and other experts in
various fields of study, many of whom served as contributors, as well
as from the general public at large. The names selected for sketches
therefore reflect the broadest biographical criteria possible. Women,
minorities, and otherwise neglected and obscure historical figures, as
well as the best-known politicians, lawyers and jurists, soldiers, writers,
businessmen, artists, religious and civic leaders, scientists, and other
movers and shakers receive their due attention.
The original scholarship and tedious professional editing necessary
for such a project are rarely fully reflected in the finished product, de-
spite the two large volumes at hand. As a result, reference works gener-
ally do not receive the appreciation they merit. Because of the over-
whelming task faced by the editor, however, several "disclaimers" are
offered in his introduction. "The editorial office," he admits, "was not
able to verify most of the facts presented in the sketches. Time simply
would not allow for this." Glaring questions did receive redress, he in-
sists, but in many cases he simply "referred the matter to the author of
the sketch for confirmation or alteration" (p. ix).
Nevertheless, the Dictionary of Louisiana Biography will prove useful to
a wide variety of readers, especially those interested in the Lower South
and the Southwest. Many sketches include Texas-related figures, such
as Jim Bowie, Jean Laffite, and Stephen F. Austin, just to name some of
the most obvious. Invariably, however, the most enlightening sketches
are of subjects less well known and, until only recently, not fully recog-
nized as those whose influence flowed in the deep currents of Louisiana
history. In fact, these sketches should probably be more detailed than
they are.
The editor, his supporting staff and editorial board, and the long roll
of contributing writers, have produced a major publication that will
serve as an indispensable reference work for a long time to come. It will
doubtless be the starting point for research in virtually every aspect of
Louisiana's past.
Austin T. MICHAEL PARRISH
Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Edited by Charles Reagan Wilson and
William Ferris. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
1989. Pp. xxi+1634. Foreword, acknowledgments, introduction,
photographs, maps, index. $49-95-)
This handsome compendium, sponsored by the Center for the Study
of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, has been em-
braced by reviewers and readers with an enthusiasm rare for a refer-

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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 September 2, 2014.