The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 94
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Mary Elizabeth Kyle Webb, was constantly admonishing them, as were
other mothers in the South: "Get an education. Nobody can take that
from you." And Webb did. He followed a familiar pattern in Texas.
Obtaining a teacher's certificate, he taught small country schools, saved
his money, attended college until his money was spent, and repeated
this pattern until he had his degree. Then the next higher degree.
No doubt election to teach in the University of Texas in 1918 compen-
sated for all those endless years of alternating between teaching and
studying. And the awarding of the doctorate in 1932 restored his self-
confidence. Freed of an unfair evaluation, he taught, lectured, pre-
sided, and used all his talents with confidence.
Formerly his classes had been uneven in quality, varying from the
dull and pedestrian to the inspiring and scintillating. Three young men
used to speculate while we waited for him to meet our class whether his
mind would be on our period of history or on his writing. Would he
have us read our book reviews or give us the results of his reading every-
thing from the weekly Saturday Evening Post to government documents?
Two of Dobie and Webb's actions were enriching for themselves, for
one of their friends, and for Texas literature. They provided quiet for
Roy Bedichek to record his observations of nature, his philosophy, and
life in general as he lived at Webb's Friday Mountain Ranch. Three
valuable books were a part of the results; the world is the richer for
The world of letters ought to know about these authors and their
writings, or so they thought. And the world did learn. Whether planned
or not, the three friends were so fulsome in their praise of the works of
each other that they served as public-relations experts, the result being
that two attained international reputations. Both Webb and Dobie be-
came known in England and on the Continent.
In their personal relations, both Dobie and Webb showed wisdom in
their choice of wives. They won charming, intelligent, creative, and
strong women. Any one of them could have gained wide recognition
had she not subordinated her talents to the needs of her husband. Ber-
tha Dobie did a limited amount of writing about gardens and gardening.
However, the influence of her uncommon mind and refined taste is
clear in Frank's writings throughout his career. As Frank's fame spread,
so did his eccentricities. Bertha was not disturbed by his idiosyncrasies.
In the Webb family, the once winsome Jane Oliphant Webb's years of
saving every dollar possible, teaching, and protecting her husband
from the pressure of their household gave him time for reading, think-
ing, writing, and traveling. When the opportunity came, Webb was a
leader who could mix with men of letters as an equal. No longer did he
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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/m1/121/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.