The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 157
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Of the three sets of roots, the lyceum movement was by far the
oldest and-possibly for that reason-the most erratic in develop-
ment. That characteristic is strikingly evident here. The ups and
downs of debating activities, subscription libraries, and other
efforts at cultural uplift under the aegis of Houston's lyceum
are carefully traced here, and, in the process, Hatch gives the
reader a partial glimpse of Houston's uneven and often painful
emergence from crude frontier beginnings. Perhaps particularly
noteworthy in this respect was the destruction of a lively debate
activity in the late 1850's as the lyceum members became caught
up in controversial matters reflecting the growing division be-
tween North 'and South. Yet, as this little study shows, sooner
or later the forces of cultural uplift would regroup, a re-
newed effort to provide books, lectures, debates, and, occa-
sionally, musical programs would be made, and the community
would advance culturally beyond the point reached before the
death of the last such effort.
Not only does the reader catch a glimpse here of cultural ad-
vance in nineteenth-century Houston; he also is shown some of
the trends in that advance. The most clear-cut would seem to
be the gradual supplanting of the predominantly masculine
lyceum movement by women's study groups. It was the women's
organizations, building on the base for library development pro-
vided by the declining lyceum, and calling on Carnegie and the
city fathers for financial help, that brought Houston a free pub-
Some errors in fact are evident. Houston did not cease being
the capital of Texas in 1840, nor did Mirabeau B. Lamar be-
come president of Texas in 1839; both events took place the year
before. Similarly, the Frank Brown Annals of Travis County at
the Austin Public Library are not manuscripts but typescripts
taken from manuscripts in the Archives of the University of
A more irritating defect stems from the writer's succumbing,
all too often, to the common malady in local history writing--
text-cluttering with names. A similar affliction, though less dis-
tracting because it was confined to the appendix, is the undue
attention given the lives of individuals prominent in the lyceum,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/175/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.