The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Colorado River in Austin, and offered to underwrite its expenses when Gov-
ernor Ferguson vetoed the appropriation bill for 1917-1919.
Unfortunately, Brackenridge destroyed his personal papers from the Civil
War period, and his sister Mary Eleanor Brackenridge weeded out various
other documents that did not reflect well on his banking practices. Insuffi-
cient material exists, therefore, to cover Brackenridge effectively in the first
part of his career, and consequently he does not come to life until the later
chapters of the book. Nevertheless, the author attempted to breathe life into
her subject artificially in her opening chapter by focusing on the personality
of the man rather than shortening those chapters for which material is lack-
ing and allowing his personality to surface naturally. Indeed, the first chapter
seems awkwardly out of place, is miserably written, and should have been
omitted altogether since its contents are repeated in subsequent chapters.
The book, otherwise, is well-done.
San Antonio College THOMAS M. SETTLES
The Art of Ragtime: Form and Meaning of an Original Black American
Art. By William J. Schafer and Johannes Riedel with assistance from
Michael Polad and Richard Thompson. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1973. Pp. xix+249. Notes, illustrations, appen-
dices, bibliography, index. $ o. )
Although this study is primarily musicological, it incorporates a sufficient
amount of the historical milieu of ragtime to warrant criticism as a social
history. The authors' thesis is that ragtime originated as a serious musical
idiom and deserves analysis as such rather than as a popular form of enter-
tainment. They trace its genesis from black folk music, especially such dance
forms as the cakewalk, and its relation to jazz, which largely supplanted it.
Ragtime's heyday came during the first decade of the twentieth century, and
its most notable exponents were Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph Lamb.
Unlike jazz, with its New Orleans roots, ragtime came out of the Midwest
-Sedalia, Missouri, to be specific. It took firm root there among Negro
pianists before it achieved wide commercial success through the efforts of
national sheetmusic publishers. The most famous of Joplin's ragtime compo-
sitions was "Maple Leaf Rag." His seriousness as a composer is testified to
by the 19I i opera Treemonisha, based on ragtime motifs. Rejected as a
serious composer, Joplin never saw his opera produced and died insane and
unappreciated.
In their efforts to establish ragtime as a serious art form, the authors strain
mightily. If postulation could prove a point, the thoroughly entertaining

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed September 22, 2014.