The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Book Notes

Book Notes
A Portfolio of Six Paintings. By Tom Lea. Austin (University of Texas
Press), 1967. $12.50.
This reissue of six prints, reproducing Tom Lea paintings of life in
the Southwest, is sufficient testimony of their continuing popularity. In
the current edition, there comes with each portfolio an extra print,
"Ranger Escort West of the Pecos," the original of which hangs perma-
nently in the Governor's Mansion in Austin. The life represented is that
of animals and men in open spaces. To contemplate its relation to the
life that most residents now know in an urban and industrial Southwest
may help one to understand the appeal of these pictures. Like J. Frank
Dobie, whose introduction is also reprinted, Tom Lea found in the life
of an older Southwest values that he felt worth preserving. He and Dobie
felt intimately in touch with what the other was doing--"both of us are
doing it for our pais," Lea wrote. Each had some feeling about the region,
ultimately undefinable, that he could only hope to express in a book
or a picture. In the introduction Dobie emphasizes Tom Lea's continuous
efforts to achieve a truer expression of his ideas. "There is so much
that escapes, forever," Lea wrote; and, on another occasion, "I aim high
and shoot low." We are reminded of the aspiration of other artists who
felt impelled to express an inward ideal. The kind of emotion and value
that many will continue to find in Tom Lea's pictures is expressed in
his own response one day to the "White Pacing Mustang," one of the
pictures reproduced here: " . . . he gave me such joy. I found him still
wild and free." Tom Lea's pictures evoke these feelings and express these
values. The pleasure which they give now and in the future will be mean-
ingful to the social historian.
University of Texas at Austin ALEXANDER SACKTON
The Texas Almanac, 1857-z873. Compiled by James M. Day. Waco (Texian
Press), 1967. Pp. xvi + 792. $x12oo.
Readers of today's Texas Almanac would hardly recognize the several
issues of the publication bearing the same name which appeared annually
(except for 1866) from 1857 to 1873. The present Almanac, which the
publishers of the Dallas Morning News began issuing on a biennial basis
in the 19g0's, is primarily a year-book of statistical and historical ma-
terial and differs from the earlier work edited by Willard Richardson,
which contained biographical and autobiographical sketches, eyewitness
descriptions of significant events, and lengthy lists of soldiers, pensioners,
and the like. It was more then than now a political organ, and the articles
published were often highly partisan accounts of controversies relating
to the days of the Republic and early statehood. It is a striking com-
mentary on that generation's sense of historical significance, in fact, that

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed July 14, 2014.