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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

quistador's wife with miraculous healing powers, and the Virgin of Guadalupe
with the Yaqui insurrection of Juan Banderas (pp. 13, 25). She is right, of
course, to see the soldaderas as subjects of both history and myth; the trouble
is, she makes little attempt to disentangle the two (such disentanglement is a
necessary and not hopelessly positivistic undertaking).
Finally, while the author rightly stresses the historical complexity of the sol-
dadera phenomenon-and upbraids Chicanos who reduce the soldadera to
one-dimensional caricature-she is not above her own dismissals and cari-
catures. The Mexican goddess Coatlicue is a "monstrosity"; the Cristero rebels
of the 192os are "fanatical Catholics" (Jean Meyer's magisterial work does not
appear in the bibliography); and "few American mercenaries dared to stay very
long among Mexican rebels who were only too happy to send them home in
coffins" (pp. 5, 49, 114). The soldaderas deserve sober and serious historical
research, but this is not the way to set about it.
University of Texas at Austin ALAN KNIGHT
One-Room School: Teaching in 193os Western Oklahoma. By Donna M. Stephens.
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990. Pp. xvi+ 173. Preface, ac-
knowledgments, introduction, prologue, map, black-and-white photo-
graphs, epilogue, notes, bibliography, index. $19.95.)
This book provides an interesting look into our past and is especially valuable
to a nation seeking to reform an ailing educational system. The experiences of
Helen Hussman Morris in the one-room schools of western Oklahoma during
the Great Depression show that support from the family and the community
may be as important to success as the school system itself. The setting is Okla-
homa, but the story is of any one-room school in the nation. Helen Morris's
daughter has recorded experiences that can help current educators and future
generations learn from the past.
The introduction briefly reviews the history of Oklahoma and of public edu-
cation and teacher preparation in that state. The author provides a glimpse of
family unity and of community cooperation that seems to be gone from Ameri-
can life. This is a delightful account of an age we often think of as simple, but
was it really?
Today educational systems deal with curriculum problems, lack of materials,
inadequate facilities, and discipline, but nineteen-year-old Helen faced all of
these problems alone. Helen taught sixteen students in eight grades and was
expected to provide activities at school for the entertainment of the entire com-
munity. At county teachers' meetings the complaints were about the amount of
record keeping and the fact that the topics discussed did not really address
problems teachers faced in one-room schools. The depression hit the small
communities so hard that money for the schools was almost nonexistent and
Helen's checks were sometimes discounted. To the teachers of today, the prob-
lems facing Helen will be very familiar; to the students of today, Helen's world
will be almost unbelievable, but the story told will be valuable to both.

538

Stephen F. Austzn State University

TOMMIE JAN LOWERY

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 September 17, 2014.