The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 104
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
place and his own importance and was often at odds with his depart-
ment and with the University administration. Wild creatures and men
close to nature were what he admired most and felt most kinship with,
and he was, or pretended to be, anti-academic. He called his profes-
sorial colleagues (I heard him myself) "a bunch of goddamned sheep."
In his own department the man he found most revolting was Professor
Morgan Calloway, Jr., whose specialty was the Anglo-Saxon infinitive.
When the professor died, a colleague asked Dobie if he intended to go
to the funeral, and Dobie replied, "No, but I approve."
He always assumed-and deserved-the role of Mr. Texas, wore
khaki pants and cowboy boots and a big hat, and thought of himself as
a ranchman in exile among "academicians." When somebody gave him
a branding iron for Christmas, gossip said, he went out and branded
his garage door for lack of something better to brand. Of course he was
as much an academician as the cloistered creatures he decried, but he
refused to admit it and separated himself as much as he could from
what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "pale young men in libraries."
He had a cabin out on the Devil's River somewhere, to which he re-
tired when he wanted to write a book. His excuse was that he had to
leave town on account of a severe case of hay fever. Mrs. Dobie always
met his classes, and since she was a more systematic teacher than he was
(people said that what he taught was Dobie), the arrangement was satis-
factory, if a bit irregular. In 1938, however, the Budget Council had
had enough of this sort of thing and refused to approve Mrs. Dobie as a
substitute. They offered me the job for a summer term. Dobie himself
probably recommended me.
I had already made myself known on the campus. The chain of cir-
cumstances began with my abandonment of Samuel Butler as a re-
search project. While I was shopping for another candidate, I went to
Austin to attend a meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, probably be-
cause Mr. Leon Denny Moses of the English department at TCM, an
active member, was going. When we went to such meetings, we gener-
ally took a carload and shared expenses. I even read a paper based on
the work of some of my Mexican American students, who had collected
ghost stories for my class in southwestern literature. As a result, I was
elected president of the Society in 1934. I could not understand why a
newcomer should be so honored until I learned that the Texas group
had been wanting for a long time to hold a joint meeting at El Paso with
the New Mexico Folklore Society, but they needed somebody on the
ground to head a local-arrangements committee. The sacrificial victim
was at hand for the meeting, and I was offered up. We had a good con-
vention at Hotel Paso del Norte in 1935, at which Dobie appeared in
full glory. That explains the invitation to come to Austin.
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/m1/131/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.