The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

If the longhorn is the symbol for tough, traditional Texas, the arma-
dillo has evolved as the metaphor for the other Texas, the gentle, laid-
back side. The two character types are as different as the sizes of their
two symbols.
The story of the longhorn has been well documented, the standard
work still being J. Frank Dobie's book The Longhorns. Now Texas has a
lasting book on the armadillo.
The armadillo is no more indigenous to Texas than the longhorn, the
feral descendent of Spanish cattle. Dasypus novemcinctus came to Texas
from South America, and has gradually spread to the north and east.
The two authors of this book have examined not only the natural his-
tory of the armadillo, which covers every point from what an armadillo
eats to its distribution and spread through the South, but its relation to
humans. This human part of the story roots up new ground. A Ger-
man immigrant to Texas, Charles Apelt (1862-1944), was the first per-
son to make commercial use of armadillos in Texas. He produced bas-
kets from the armadillo's shell and did a fair business in selling the
small mammals as novelty animals.
Starting in the late 196os, around the time the Apelt Armadillo Co.
was about to go out of business, the status of armadillos began to
change. Once erroneously blamed for everything from grave robbing
to quail-egg eating, the armadillo suddenly became a Texas totem, the
centerpiece of festivals and races, a subject for artists and ad agents, the
mascot of a culture. In addition to serving as an object of fun for
occasion-crazy Texans, the armadillo also has been served-as a pork-
like dish, its meat used for chili or barbeque. The animal is even used in
leprosy research.
Smith and Doughty have done a thorough job of research on this un-
usual little creature, and they have told its story well.
Austin MIKE COX
Galveston: Ellis Island of the West. By Bernard Marinbach. (Albany: State
University of New York Press, 1985. Pp. xx+ 240. Preface, illustra-
tions, notes, bibliography, index. $49.50, cloth; $15.95, paper.)
In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Jewish philanthro-
pist Jacob Schiff of New York financed a project designed to distribute
Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe to the American West. Known
as the "Galveston Movement" (because ships from Europe went directly
to the port there), it brought fewer than 1o,ooo people (out of a total
Jewish immigration of more than half a million during the same pe-
riod) to Texas during its years of activity, 1907-1914. From Galveston,

364

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/. Accessed May 29, 2015.