The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Privately Published Autobiographies by Texans:
Their Significance for Scholars
JANE F. HEALEY*
Since I have grown old 1 think so much about so
many little children that have to live in closed-in
places. Never know the pleasures of a home on
a farm and ranch. Where you can run with the
wind blowing in your face and feel so free.'
N 1970, FEELING SORRY FOR THE CHILDREN WHO WOULD NEVER KNOW
the Texas of her childhood, Laura Clementine Jackson composed
the story of her life to preserve her memories and pass them on to in-
terested relatives and friends. Jackson is not alone in her autobiographi-
cal and historical efforts; many Texans from the early years of state-
hood to the present time have shared her sentiment and felt compelled
to record their personal experiences and provide current and future
generations with images of the past, alternative visions of life, and stan-
dards against which to compare and judge present circumstances. To
achieve their missions, these concerned autobiographers often ar-
ranged and paid for the publication and printing of their manuscripts,
distributing the limited number of copies to family and friends.
Because individuals rather than companies publish these works, li-
braries do not usually receive or purchase copies of them, and when
libraries do possess them, due to their obscurity, the works are rarely
catalogued in any detail. Therefore most scholars, unaware that these
books exist, cannot locate or use them for research. Instead, autobiog-
raphies similar to Jackson's occupy space on library or archive shelves
inaccessible to scholars who would benefit from the plethora of infor-
mation and experiences the authors recorded.
*Jane Healey is an assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Mercer University in
Macon, Georgia. She recently completed a dissertation about the relationship between art and
history in post-World War II American culture. She wishes to thank Helen Antrobus, Nancy
Ensted, Wendy Kozol, David Noble, Steve Peterson, and April Schultz for reading drafts of this
essay.
I Laura Clementine Jackson, Pond Sprmg Home o My Chdldhood (n p. Zane Carrell, 1970), 63

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed April 20, 2014.