The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941

E. L. SHETTLES, MAN, BOOKMAN
AND FRIEND'
J. FRANK DOBIE
It was in the fall of 1925, nearly fifteen years ago, that I first
came to know E. L. Shettles as a conversationalist, as a friend,
and as a bookman, and to realize the extraordinary riches within
his mind. In my life I have not met more than two other men
who possessed such a wealth of minute, accurate, readily avail-
able information. His memory was to me perpetually marvelous;
his justness was comparable to his memory. He was one of the
best men I have ever known, and he and my own father have
led me to conclude that pure goodness and justness and mercy
and kindness in men make them cheerful.
Death is never a bringer of cheer, but in speaking of my
honored and revered friend today, reviewing some of the events
of his long life and remembering the association I had with him,
I find my spirits cheered. Our first conversation was about a
book entitled Dodge City, the Cowboy Capital. I had two copies
of it, for one of which I had paid a dollar and for the other a
dollar and a half. He wanted one of the copies so much that he
traded me about forty dollars' worth of other books for it. He
knew that I knew at that time little about book values and that I
had need of books. Thus he began a generosity with me that
included not only prices but the impartation of priceless knowl-
edge.
When he traded books with another book dealer, he pitted
his own knowledge against that of his fellow business man.
When a person ignorant of book values offered him something
at his own price, he made the price fair. His long-time friend,
the Reverend C. F. Smith of Houston, tells of accompanying
Mr. Shettles on one occasion to an old house in Houston where
some books and pamphlets were stored. The woman of the
house led the two men to a neglected storeroom. Mr. Shettles
picked out a dozen or so books, laying them one by one on the
floor. Then he said, "I'll give you a dollar apiece for these." At
'E. L. Shettles, born in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, March 22, 1852, died
in Austin, Texas, May 30, 1940. This essay, now slightly revised, was read
by the author as a part of the funeral ceremonies.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/. Accessed July 23, 2014.