The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 103

J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb

Storytellers I Have Known Dobie had written: "For Al Lowman, Wishing
you a far journey on the path of books."
It has been a far journey-immensely successful, rewarding, excit-
ing, and gratifying because it has brought me the friendship of some of
the damndest and most wonderful people. The best of these have been
superb storytellers.
Ah, the storytellers I have known.
J. Frank Dobie
Life at TCM-the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy, which be-
came Texas Western College in 1949 and the University of Texas at El
Paso in 1967-fell into a rhythmic pattern that changed very little with
the seasons. Registration and finals were the chief points of stress.
There were, however, highlights like the two tours of duty in Austin at
what we called then the Main University in the summer of 1938 and the
spring semester of 1939.' My job was to teach J. Frank Dobie's course,
"Life and Literature of the Southwest."
This was a pioneer course in regional literature that Dobie had initi-
ated, with considerable difficulty, some fifteen years earlier. The Bud-
get Council (the ruling body of the English department) had turned
him down when he first proposed to organize a class in southwestern
literature on the ground that there was no such thing. Dobie returned
to the attack with a request to teach "Life and Literature of the South-
west." "You can hardly deny that there is life here," he told them. This
time he succeeded, and in the years that followed, partly at least be-
cause of his success, courses in regional literature proliferated through-
out the West. We now have a Western Literature Association, which
publishes its own magazine and meets annually. It is dominated by aca-
demic people and is cliquish and cultish, but it exists and flourishes. A
Southwestern Literature Association also exists but has never achieved
a very firm footing.
Dobie, as I knew him, was a strong-minded fellow who might have
been described as an amiable egotist. He had a lively sense of his own
* C. L. Sonnichsen, former professor of Enghlish at the University of El Paso, is an author and
historian. This essay is adapted from an unpubhlished, autobiographical manuscript, "One for
the Road," which Dr Sonnichsen wrote for his family and friends. Part of the essay appeared in
C. L. Sonnichsen, "One for the Road," Nova: The Unveru ly of Texas at El Paso Magazne, XXI
(June, 1986), 3-5. This material, 1986, is reprinted with permission of Nova Quarterly, Uni-
versity of Texas at El Paso.
'The Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy was a branch of the University of Texas.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. ( accessed August 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.