The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 540
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
evidence that Gail Borden found what he sought. On August 12,
1856, he patented condensed milk.
The drama of the milkman is, however, only one of several
activities in which Gail Borden figured. Working for political
freedom as a colonist under Stephen F. Austin's leadership, he
published the Telegraph and Texas Register at San Felipe, Texas,
a newspaper dedicated to the cause of Texas Independence. From
1837 to 1846, he was customs collector at Galveston, Texas, a fact
that caused him to be known as "the father of Galveston."
Inspired by the motto that he never dropped an idea except
for a better one, Borden invented, among other items, a terra-
queous machine to travel on both land and water, and a meat
biscuit, the latter receiving a gold medal at the Great Coun-
cil Exhibition in London in 1851. Notwithstanding the fact that
neither of these products proved practical, their inventor was
Mrs. Baker does not write with a fine literary style, but she
writes lucidly and well, and sketches her character in bold, free
strokes. The imaginary conversations, especially those occurring
in the first part of the book, enliven the story, and enhance its
interest. The many facets of Gail Borden's life are skillfully
brought out, without taxing the reader's credulity. There is a
tendency in the latter half of the biography to compress the spirit
of the man into a catalog of events, or accomplishments.
There is no evidence in the book of its documentation; how-
ever, an examination of the facts in the well-documented biog-
raphy of the same subject, entitled Gail Borden, by Joe B. Frantz
(University of Oklahoma Press, 1951) will attest to the authen-
ticity of Mrs. Baker's material. Furthermore, Mrs. Baker's reputa-
tion as a dependable author of biographies for young people is
unimpeachable. Since the book is written for the twelve to fifteen-
year-olds, an age impatient of footnotes and sources, evidence of
documentation is not essential.
The print is attractive, but the illustrations, in the eyes of this
reviewer, lack vitality and interest.
For the text of the Borden life, Mrs. Baker has used the thought
which impelled Gail Borden to action throughout his career,
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/572/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.