The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964 Page: 134
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Kentucky background to be able to evaluate his present position
in history. The reviewer is not qualified to pass on the effective-
ness of Holley's liberal religious doctrines as evidenced by his
tenure in Boston nor his importance as a teacher and college
president at Transylvania College in Lexington, Kentucky. It is
hard to believe that Mary Austin Holley's writings, travels,
or acquaintances, other than those related to the history of Texas
and its personage, are of enough significance to make her a person
of national importance. Nevertheless, it is important to know
all that can be learned about this ambitious, energetic, and rest-
less woman who certainly made a remarkable contribution to
Rebecca Lee follows Mary Austin Holley through her various
travels, introduces her prominent friends and the members of
her family, and discusses her ambitions, her restlessness, and her
perhaps avaricious disposition. In developing the principal char-
acter, the author has a rather unusual approach. She quotes
or refers to little material from Mrs. Holley's two books about
Texas, but covers in detail her poetry, musical accomplishments,
and her writings on Horace Holley. It is apparent that Mrs.
Holley was a woman with a great many accomplishments, and
her impatience with others and desire for recognition and wealth
are easy to understand.
Mrs. Holley was an interesting and interested traveler, and
Rebecca Lee skillfully portrays the background of such places
as Boston, various places in Connecticut, New York, Washing-
ton, the German coast in Louisiana, New Orleans, Galveston,
Brazoria, Bolivar, and various other parts of the country. Par-
ticularly impressive is her description of Mrs. Holley's first trip
to Bolivar on the Brazos and a happy visit with her brother,
Henry Austin, and the not too young impresario, Stephen F.
Austin. Mrs. Lee's portrayal of the Austin-Holley courtship as
being more practical than romantic may be a rather accurate
analysis of their relationship. It is obvious that the spark never
developed into a flame.
To fully appreciate Rebecca Lee's book, the reader should be
familiar with the characters and the period of Texas as por-
trayed by other writers touching the same period, the Austin
Papers and the Life of Stephen F. Austin by Eugene C. Barker,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 67, July 1963 - April, 1964, periodical, 1964; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101197/m1/156/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.