The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 457
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sonal letters a love story fresh in telling, poetic in fervor, significant in
its limning of the private life of an American writer whose public life
became legend in his own time. It is also the story of a literary partner-
ship that began when Frank Dobie and Bertha McKee worked together
on the college annual at Southwestern University and ended, not with
the death of Frank in 1964 but with the death of Bertha ten years later.
The biography of one is the biography of the other, though the propor-
tions are unequal. Through the years, no matter how light or heavy her
touch, she influenced his writing, at times by employing her strong
sense of literary criticism, at times softening his ranch-hand robustness
with reminders of the Methodist morality and southern gentility in
which they both had been nurtured. Often "poorly" in health, she re-
tained her sharp and independent mind to the end, as evidenced in her
editing of Rattlesnakes and Some Part of Myself from projects he was
unable to finish. Tinkle's satisfaction in their partnership is apparent
in the fact that he did not get them married till page sixty-nine.
In its broader aspects this is the biography of a ranch boy from the
Brush Country of South Texas who, after advanced study at the Uni-
versity of Chicago and Columbia University, forsook the traditional
academic in favor of a route less secure but to him more gratifying.
Against the handicaps he set for himself, he rose in rank almost to the
top at the University of Texas and through prestige in a broader field
to an academic peak as a visiting professor at Immanuel College, Cam-
bridge University, England. His genius, he proved, lay not in the pur-
suit of the Ph.D. but in his recognition of the culture that belonged to
the land and people of his youth and in his dedication to the task of
chronicling that culture as he explored it in ever-expanding circles.
Midway in his development the title of this biography could have
been A Texas Original. It might have ended as that had he stuck to
local stunts like going to jail to protest a parking meter fine and cashing
a check written on a shingle. At the time that he was engaged in such
antics to the delight of his local public he was shifting intellectually
from the regional writing of Coronado's Children and other early books
to writing of a region without the chauvinism implied by regional lit-
erature-a shift that reached a commitment to universality in A Texan
in England. The students at Immanuel College who raised Dobie's cow-
boy hat to the top of the college flagpole acknowledged their affection
for him, their respect for his work as cultural historian, and, unwitting-
ly perhaps, recognition that he had erased from his mind geographical
boundaries once dear to him. This is not to say that he turned his back
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/519/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.