The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 302
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
where plows and axes and rifles held precedence over books.
Few indeed were the personal libraries in the Southwest that
compared with the library owned by Ashbel Smith. Dr. Ferdi-
nand Roemer, one of the keenest observers of Texas in the
'forties, describes a room in Smith's home:"
In one corner of the room stood a tall cabinet. ... Its contents con-
tained chiefly books which formed a small but carefully selected
library. Not only were the Greek and Roman classics represented,
but also the best and choicest selections of English and French litera-
Stephen F. Austin's excellent library contained some of Sir
Walter Scott's novels, Washington Irving's Conquest of Granada,
and forty-seven volumes of Ree's Encyclopedia.4
Mrs. Dilue Harris, who relates incidents in the 'thirties, says,
"Father had a fine assortment of books, but few schoolbooks."
In the same period, J. C. Duval describes a planter's house on
I went to the house, and entering it saw at once that the Mexicans
had never been there, for everything remained just as it had been
left by the occupants-furniture untouched, cases filled with books
and articles of wearing apparel. ... In a back room I found quite a
library, a rare thing at that time in Texas.
An account of a school in Austin's colony by M. M. Kenney is
specific in naming books that were to be found in some pioneer
My brother was also in a class by himself reading Goldsmith's
History of Greece. The pupils brought such books as they happened
to have, and one young man had Robinson Crusoe for his reading
book. ... Several had Weems' Life of Washington. One boy had an
illustrated edition of Goldsmith's Natural History, and there were a
variety of other books, nearly all of them by famous authors.
A few of the "other books" are mentioned by Kenney: Plutarch's
8Ferdinand Roemer (Oswald Mueller, trans.), Texas (San Antonio, 1935), 6o.
4Lewis W. Newton and Herbert P. Gambrell, A Social and Political History of
Texas (Dallas, 1932), 113-114.
5"The Reminiscences of Mrs. Dilue Harris," Quarterly of the Texas State
Historical Association, IV, 85.
6J. C. Duval, Early Times in Texas (Austin, 1892), 99.
7M. M. Kenney, "Recollections of Early Schools," Quarterly of the Texas
State Historical Association, I, 285.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/414/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.