The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 164
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
boat took an upswing. It may be noted that the calliope was
housed "on the texas." The texas-strange as that lower case
spelling looks-was the big room on the upper deck of river
steamers. It got its name from its size, naturally.
In post-Civil War years, showboat entertainment grew more
and more ambitious, full-length melodramas becoming the rule
rather than the exception. But the showboats, for all their flower-
ing, were on borrowed time. The invention of the cinema, the
improvement of traveling facilities for theatre troupes and audi-
ences, and the sophistication of the once-eager frontiersmen killed
off the showboat public. As for the boats themselves, which it
might be fun to see even now, some burned, others were crushed
by ice jams, rats gnawed the hull of one and it sank, and several
were converted into freight barges, excursion boats, and dance
pavilions. One, the Goldenrod, is tied up at the foot of Locust
Street in St. Louis, and a replica of another, built on piles, is in
use as a University of Washington student theater in Seattle.
As the only comprehensive survey and record of a fascinating
and peculiarly American theatrical phenomenon, Dr. Graham's
Showboats automatically becomes a standard reference. Novelists
(even ones of whom the author disapproves as much as he dis-
approves of Edna Ferber), musical comedy writers, calliope en-
thusiasts, playbill collectors, and just plain interested readers will
be consulting this book for a long time to come.
The volume itself is appropriately designed for its subject,
the old-fashioned lettering of jacket and title page, plus the
poster end papers setting the early-day tone. The book is a pub-
lication of The University of Texas Press and can stand creditably
among any array of trade books of publishers throughout the
SARAH CHOKLA GROSS
Mexican Birds: First Impressions, Based on an Ornithological
Expedition to Tamaulipas, Nuevo Le6n, and Coahuila, with
an Appendix briefly describing all Mexican Birds. By George
Miksch Sutton. Norman (University of Oklahoma Press),
1951. Pp. xv+282. Illustrated. $10.oo.
Dr. George M. Sutton, famed ornithologist, explorer, and artist,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/184/ocr/: accessed August 31, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.