The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997

Book Reviews

405

club, and civic work; paid employment; and political activism. Excerpts from
slave narratives, reprints of articles and advertising from newspapers and maga-
zines, correspondence, and photographs are included. Winegarten provides
brief introductory and/or background information and cites the original
sources. Short biographies of fifty-six influential black Texas women, a timeline
covering 1777 to 1995, and a topical index round out the volume.
Although marketed as a companion to Black Texas Women: 150 Years of Trial
and Triumph, the sourcebook can stand alone as a testament to the legacy that
Annie Mae Hunt and all Texans have inherited. Both books are appropriate for
use in courses on Texas, women's, and African American history, and both
should be added to academic and public library collections.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign CHERYL KNOTT MALONE
Daughter of the Regiment: Memoirs of a Childhood in the Frontier Army, z878-i898. By
Mary Leefe Laurence. Edited by Thomas T. Smith. (Lincoln: University of
Nebraska Press, 1996. Pp. xxx+2o8. List of illustrations, editor's acknowl-
edgments, introduction, dedication, preface, author's foreword, notes, bib-
liography, index. ISBN 0-8032-2919-4. $35.00, cloth.)
This is a work of memory rather than history. Yet it holds interest for histori-
ans because Mary Leefe Laurence's memoir of army childhood, a rare find,
evokes many themes that military and social historians have identified in recent
years. Happily, editor Thomas T. Smith's introduction skillfully draws out the in-
tersections between Laurence's memories and those themes. For instance, Lau-
rence's book supports Elliott West's contention that frontier childhood was, for
the most part, a happy experience. Her account also underscores the gender
roles and racial attitudes of the nineteenth century as well as the strict social
conventions of the frontier army's caste system that only officers' children could
bend.
Although penned in 1945, Laurence's account covers the years 1878-1898
when her father, an officer in the 1)gth Infantry, moved his family to posts in
Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New York, Alabama, and Michigan. The book offers
lyrical descriptions of Plains grasslands ("I can still see myself... pushing it aside
and walking into its soft feathery midst. I can feel again the sense of smothering
embrace as it enfolded me-the feeling of mystery and dread" [p. 16]), com-
pelling accounts of constant uprootings from post to post coupled with the chil-
drens' resiliency in coping with change, and heartfelt tales of the importance of
a closely knit family to such a nomadic existence.
Mary's affectionate, yet condescending, attitude toward enlisted men chafes a
bit. So too do her racial attitudes. By 1945, sensibilities regarding "minorities"
were emerging and Laurence gives lip service to Indians' mistreatment by the
government and to the horrors of racial prejudice. Yet she could not rise above
her own frontier-inspired bigotry. Indians remained objects of fear and loathing.
While stationed at Mount Vernon Barracks, Alabama, where her father guard-
ed Apache prisoners of war and the Indians suffered a 24 percent death rate,

1997

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/. Accessed August 3, 2015.