The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 198
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
For William Bollaert was that rarity in early Texas-a trained
observer, a man who had seen a good bit of the world in a number
of professional capacities and who, thank the Lord, knew how to
write to be read. Here is Life in Texas, recorded by an English-
man with a sympathetic but perceptive eye. It is the sort of
journal that a stranger to Republic of Texas could read and not
only enjoy, but also feel that he knew the people of that locally
Bollaert was interested in everything about Texas. Apparently
he planned to write a book or books; he did write several articles.
And so he kept journals, sketched drawings, and made copious
notes, which he himself edited. Eventually, in 19go, these papers
found their way into the collection of Edward E. Ayer, who pre-
sented them to The Newberry Library nine years later. And now
Newberry, which has always made them available to qualified
scholars, makes them available to the larger public.
Within my means there is no way to distil this book. Every page
is quotable, while the choice of subjects ranges as widely as Texans
themselves. There are observations on music and dances, on
Indians and Negroes, on agriculture and commerce, on the
Alamo, and on a nation's Capitol overrun with "bats, lizards, and
stray cattle," not to, mention passages on horse racing, land spec-
ulation, and gratuitous titles.
On the whole Bollaert was a bull on Texas-but a generally
realistic bull. "Some villainous authors," he wrote, "have treated
Texas most scurrilously, they have called her hard names-have
gone, so far as to report that this was the last country created-
of shreds and remnants"; but still, he argued, Texas has quite
enough "to offer a happy home to thousands."
Again he wrote: "Owing to the unsettled state of the country,
some of the western settlers have returned to the United States.
... It must be confessed that ... it is not agreeable. ... Trade
is at a low ebb, and credit still lower-yet with all this, 'Texas will
go ahead.' "
Although it has become commonplace to say that a book is a
"must," nonetheless it is merely truthtelling when I suggest that
this book becomes a standard reference immediately on its ap-
pearance. The editors have sagely let Bollaert tell his own story
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/224/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.