The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 411
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other years than those he is dealing with and that adequate
treatment of them is already available elsewhere. There is, to be
sure, a chapter dealing with young Remington in Kansas, and
both he and Schreyvogel are represented in the illustrations.
What the author is interested in is not "art" but history; the
pictures are important because they are part of the historical
record noted, largely on the spot, by men "most of whom person-
ally witnessed some part of the marvelous transformation of the
region beyond the Mississippi--chiefly the Plains and the
Rockies. .. ." He justly notes that not many of the pictures
amount to much as art anyhow, especially since so many of them
are available only in poorly executed reproductions, but he seems
a bit acid toward "modern artists and art historians [who]
daintily hold their nose by thumb and forefinger when these
'artists' are mentioned or their work examined." However, the
art hardly matters. He quotes Samuel Isham: "The subject is
more [important] ... than the purely artistic qualities displayed
in its representation."
What emerges from his pages as he traces the adventures and
careers of his subjects, and accompanies his remarks with repro-
ductions of their work, is more than a series of biographical
sketches: it is a kaleidoscopic view of the West in transition;
it is lively history in its own right. John M. Stanley's journeys
with railroad surveys are recounted; some of his verbal accounts
of his travels are quoted; and several of his graphic representa-
tions of what he saw are reproduced: obviously what results is
much more important than John M. Stanley-it is a picture of
the West through his eyes.
Professor Taft's work is patient and thorough-in a word,
scholarly. His book would be of great value for its notes alone,
for his documentation goes far beyond the merely necessary and
will make easier and more fruitful the work of many other
scholars. His book possesses, too, one quality which does not
always, unfortunately, accompany sound scholarship-it is well
written. This is a real accomplishment in a book which perforce
teems with publication histories, verifications of dates and local-
ities, and similar essential impedimenta. A fine humor and an
effective style brighten the text throughout.
To find fault with such a generally splendid book is perhaps
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/492/: accessed February 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.