The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988 Page: 174
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Book Shop and the long-established Henry A. Moos, but these soon
For two years the Rosengrens had competition from a Chicago col-
league who had decided to try his luck in the San Antonio market. This
bookseller opened a nice shop on Houston Street between the old
Hertzberg Jewelry Company and the river bridge. Business was slow;
the bookseller became disenchanted; he closed out his stock. Then, leg-
end has it, he locked the door, dropped the keys in the river, walked to
the Missouri-Pacific depot, and boarded the train back to Chicago,
where his fortunes soon improved. He gained wide fame as a book-
seller, raconteur, and author of U.S.-iana, one of the foundation stones
of modern bibliography.
San Antonio spurned Wright Howes, but never the Rosengrens. In
Chicago the Rosengrens had concentrated on rare books, but they
found that in adapting to the San Antonio market they needed to stock
new books as well. Florence also initiated a book-rental service. When
the rent had recovered the cost of the book, it was placed on a sale
table. In those depression times it was a good deal for the impecunious
booklover who had little money to spend-provided, of course, that he
was lucky enough to reach the sale table first.
Frank loved great literature in fine editions and held a jaundiced
view of the Texas badmen tradition and the literature it inspired. He
wrote a facetious little poem called "Hangin' 'Round," which summa-
rized his attitude.
Just cut him down, boys, we can't leave him hang,
He's ruinin' that fine pecan tree.
I've knowed that tree ever since 'twas a nut
An' it's growed might dear to me
When the wind swings him around
His spurs skin the bark,
An' his weight, it's a-breakin' that bough.
Just cut him down, boys, we can't leave him hang;
Besides, he's done spoiled anyhow.
As Walter Prescott Webb once noted, "It is sophisticated outsiders like
Frank Rosengren who by their talent give Texas its reputation."2
The literati weren't long in discovering Rosengren's and, once having
done so, they kept coming back. J. Frank Dobie, in town for an Old
Trail Drivers Association convention, would make a beeline for the
2Walter Prescott Webb, An Honest Preface and Other Essays (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988, periodical, 1987/1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/m1/214/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.