The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 63
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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Texiana
I have long agreed with Dr. Barker that the unrelaxed inten-
sity of the book collector has a psychopathic aspect. Night before
I was invited to speak here I had read Dr. P. I. Nixon's History
of UNsocialized Medicine in Texas and, in replying to Dr. Car-
roll, I suggested that my subject be "Texianitis, its Pathology and
Protraction." Dr. Nixon's book had nothing to do with it, but
granted my clients had the disease, I somehow thought I should
keep them pleasantly afflicted. Dr. Carroll vetoed the whole
idea and only Thursday did I understand it. He has the malady
himself and utterly lacks perspective.
Did you ever eavesdrop on Dudley Dobie and Louis Lenz in
one of their huddles? Both will be bragging about their recent
steals. Perfectly shameless. A "steal" in the book-trade is some-
thing for which you paid far too little. There will be Dudley
gloating over, say, a copy of Dixon's Ten Nights with Big Foot
Wallace that he obtained from some defenseless widow. Louis
will pin him down and he will finally admit under pressure that
the collation is bad, one of Big Foot's shoes and all of Saturday
night being missing, but it is still quite a treasure. And after all,
if Auctioneer Ben Procter can offer a Spanish-American War
book printed in 1850, I guess Dudley can be forgiven for a
And have you noticed that these collectors often get duplicate
copies? For trading purposes, they say. But Dr. Barker notes
that the great collections in the University were acquired by the
purchase route. In a word, collectors are likely to be transcendent
booksellers, booksellers on an undreamt-of scale.
The poor professional bookseller is being pushed around. He
competes with gigantic book clubs, book agents, grocery stores,
pharmacies, schools, churches, auctions, and amateurs. Years ago,
when all this gravy was channeled through bookstores, they were
nice places to browse and students familiarized themselves with
the proximity and relationship of great books. You could find
the Bhagavadgita, the Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter, or an Alice
in Wonderland in a variety of editions. Right now there is not
a first-class bookstore in Austin, cultural center of the state, or
hardly any other place. There may be as many as one in the
entire state, not subsidized, that sticks to books, makes money,
and serves a community.
Here’s what’s next.
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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/m1/85/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.