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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Book Reviews

women did in celebrations for the Lost Cause. Pension rolls are used to show
how African American widows and mothers fought to establish their right to
receive pensions and what family patterns describe. Oral histories give evi-
dence of the class bias with which elite African American women separated
themselves from other black women in Georgia in the early twentieth century.
The last article discusses the paradox of Progressive women in the New South
seeking to bring reform to the region by using the rhetoric of the "Lost
At the first Conference on Southern Women's History in 1988, Jacqueline
Dowd Hall presented a paper entitled "Partial Truths" in which she urged schol-
ars to recognize that the "truths" they find need not apply universally. What is
true for women of one region or race need not be claimed for all women. Negoti-
ating Boundaries displays the wisdom of looking at particular women and then
combining their stories.
Sul Ross State University Marilyn Dell Brady
Spindletop Boom Days. By Paul N. Spellman. (College Station: Texas A&M Univer-
sity Press, 2001. Pp. xii+266. List of illustrations, acknowledgments, intro-
duction, epilogue, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-89096-946-9. $29.95,
Spindletop: The Untold Story as seen through the eyes of Captain George Washington
O'Bren and the Gladys City Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company founded in
x892. By Christine Moor Sanders. (Beaumont: Spindletop/Gladys City Boom-
town Museum, 2000. Pp. 332. Acknowledgments, introduction, preface, end-
notes, appendix, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-9674460-1. $21.00, cloth.)
Anyone looking at the history of modern Texas has to come to terms with the
overwhelming impact of what happened at Spindletop. When the Lucas gusher
roared in on January o1, 1901, it launched Texas as a major oil producing state.
Spindletop oil led to the emergence of a host of oil companies that assumed ma-
jor rank; it fostered a legion of smaller independent operators who opened up
oil and gas fields throughout Texas; it encouraged the growth of a massive refin-
ing and petrochemicals industry on the Texas Gulf Coast; it created the first of
many giant Texas oil booms; and, most important, it brought thousands of Tex-
ans to the oil fields. As many an author has realized, Texas was never the same
after Spindletop. Therein lies the historian's problem in 2ool; after a century,
how does one develop a new vision to enhance a story told so many times? By de-
ploying a wealth of detail, this is what both Paul N. Spellman and Christine
Moor Sanders try to do.
Spellman emphasizes the human experience of rough and tumble boomtime
life. He aims to "represent" (p. 8) life at Spindletop, as well as in subsequent
booms in nearby Sour Lake, Saratoga, and Batson Prairie, by extensive use of in-
terviews done in the 1950s by Mody C. Boatright and William A. Owens, in the
Pioneers of Texas Oil Collection at the Center for American History at the Uni-
versity of Texas at Austin. Giving a brief nod to ideology, Spellman begins with
the thesis that Spindletop boomers showed the "American frontier character,"



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 2, 2016.

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