The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977 Page: 351
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to issue (or reissue) county histories. Their publications, like the ones
here on Shackleford, Haskell, and Navarro Counties, are clearly labors of
love, but most of them have only modest value for historians. Too often,
local history becomes an antiquarian search for the unique, the earliest,
and the atypical. And defects of organization and indexing make most
local histories difficult to use for general research.
The attractively printed reissue of Bigger's Shackelford County Sketches
(I908), now extensively annotated by Joan Farmer, contains interesting
material on Fort Griffin, but it is not systematic enough for basic research.
Biggers wrote pleasant prose, and his anecdotes are amusing, but they are
not very informative historically.
Rex Felker's Haskell is disorganized, and shows its genesis in assorted
newspaper articles. Felker devotes about 70 percent of the volume to
printing 178 biographical accounts concerning early or prominent set-
tlers. Little control seems to have been kept over those entries, and they
range from dull through nostalgic to diverting.
Wyvonne Putman's compilation on Navarro County is the most pro-
fessional of the three works under discussion here, although no real nar-
rative of growth emerges, and its organization would defeat a search for
a specific reference. A fairly complete name index is helpful, and the
most useful part of the work is the thirty-two historical sketches of pioneer
towns in the county.
These labors of love, the result of immense effort, are valuable mainly
to local residents of the counties and not to historians working on general
problems. Because local history ought to be a foundation for state and
national studies, perhaps one of the state historical organizations could
prepare a basic outline and a guide for the preparation of local history. If
local historical groups were encouraged to use such an outline and guide,
one that stressed local actions and attitudes in relation to the outside world,
then persons not native to the region would find local history useful. Treat-
ment of state and national issues does not require the suppression of anec-
dotes or the omission of events whose impact is purely local. But local
history should be presented in a framework that will allow its use by a
North Texas State University
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 80, July 1976 - April, 1977, periodical, 1976/1977; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101204/m1/395/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.