The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 93
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
thors, and other visitors to Austin and they wanted a student for some
reason. To me their home had distinction, reflecting their various inter-
ests. Bertha's table always was an exquisite setting for delicious food.
But the conversation was like no other. It was a stimulating atmosphere.
Each enjoyed the out-of-doors. After trying different fields, Frank
was teaching at the University of Texas and planning the first course in
Southwestern literature, with a book to guide his students, and also
stealing away to sit around uncounted camp fires with tellers of tales of
animals and folks. Meanwhile, Bertha was spending many hours talk-
ing about growing plants to garden clubs and working in her own yard.
From a scrap of sloping land, bounded by present-day Twenty-sixth
Street, a bridge, a tree smothered with mustang grape vines, Waller
Creek, and their white frame house, she evoked beauty. Roses lined the
walk. Each spring golden yellow pansies, Texas bluebells, forget-me-
nots, and hollyhocks brought citizens and students out of their way to
see Mrs. Dobie's yard. They had to return later, for countless other
flowers followed in due season.
Frank was proud of and encouraged her. Since she planted the seeds
of the perennials in late summer of one year for the next year's bloom,
Frank made her a stout two inch by twelve inch by four foot planting
box in which to sow her seeds and grow small starts. She often shared
both seeds and plants with me. She treasured this gift; it resembled a
horse trough but it was ideal for its purpose. One day several years be-
fore she died, she asked me to come over. Upon arrival I was saddened
by her announcement that she was not going to garden any more. She
and her longtime helper were too old; it was no longer fun and a plea-
sure without Frank to share her successes. Did I want the seed box? Of
course, I did.
Not only did Frank Dobie teach the course in Southwestern literature
to an overflow class, but in 1922 he, Leonidas W. Payne, Jr., John A.
Lomax, and others revived the Texas Folklore Society, which had been
dormant for some years. These meetings reflected his genuine interest
in people. When he appeared beside each member at a dinner meeting,
even timid ones blossomed and responded to his warmth and interest
in their stories. Through his class and the society, Dobie had contacts
with many who aspired to write. Many received their first encourage-
ment to do so from Dobie. He read their manuscripts, evaluated them,
and even suggested where to send them for publication. As a result,
several became as widely known as Dobie in the United States.
Walter Prescott Webb, the second member whose birthday is being
celebrated, was born on a farm in Panola County, Texas. Several west-
ward moves brought the family to Stephens and Eastland counties.
Throughout the children's growing years that stouthearted mother,
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/120/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.