The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 83

J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb

what he could to place $5,000 per year for the next two fiscal years at
Webb's disposal. This information I conveyed to Webb. He became con-
siderably less somber, even though final action would depend on the
Senate-House conference committee.
Toward the latter part of the legislative session of 1941, Webb and I
again met in Austin. I immediately asked about the status of the Hand-
book appropriation request. He said it was his understanding that the
conference committee had either finished its work or was very nearly
through. "But," said he, "I can't find out a thing no matter how hard I
try or whom I approach. Can you?" I told Webb I could try and would
let him know if I learned anything.
Later in the day I met Senator Metcalfe and asked about the fate of
the Handbook funds in the conference committee. He said, "Jack, the
conference committee has finished its work, but rules ban the release of
information until its report is released in the two houses. How much
did you say Webb had to have?" I repeated the $Io,ooo figure. The
senator winked and asked, "Do you suppose he could manage on
$9,500?" I later swore Webb to silence, then asked him, "Do you think
you could get the Handbook on the way with $9,500? If you can, you
can hunt up a new worry." Metcalfe had agreed to a $250 per year cut
in deference to House members. The final bill carried two Handbook
items for $4,750 each. The governor did not veto them.
How Webb got the additional funds I never asked. But the above is
the story of the procurement of the basic $9,500 from the state.
Walter Prescott Webb as Mentor:
A Personal Perspective
In my years at the University of Texas, back in the forties and fifties,
the term "mentor" was not in general use. I am not sure that Walter
Prescott Webb would entirely approve of the use of mentor to describe
him. It comes from Homer's Odyssey and is the name assumed by Athena
when in disguise she visited Odysseus's young son to encourage and in-
spire him. Dr. Webb was born in Panola County in East Texas and grew
up in Stephens County in West Texas. He was first, foremost, and al-
* Betty Brooke Dobkins is a historian at Tulsa Junior College in Oklahoma. These comments
were given at a panel discussion focusing on Walter Prescott Webb at the Association's annual
meeting in Austin on March 5, 1988.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. ( accessed February 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.