The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 116
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
He was one of those rare men who could give even a teenager advice
and not be thought pedantic. I was reading book after book on Texas
history at this time, to the exclusion of almost anything else. Dobie
could tell from my letters, and in February of 1956 he wrote: "In your
ambition to be an authority on Texas history remember always the de-
sirability of perspective. The history of a country cannot be separated
from the histories of other countries. It is necessary for one who is learn-
ing to write history to study historians on various subjects for their style
and thought as well as for their matter. You will get ideas and points of
view from Herodotus, Macaulay, Gibbon, and other historians."
In the minor points he had little interest. Regarding footnotes, for
example, he hedged: "There are arguments for placing footnotes with
the text, and there are arguments for placing them in the back of the
book." Yet he would pursue a source, even a minor one, with tenacity.
He tried for years to locate a single-line mention of John C. Duval that
had purportedly appeared in the American Field Journal, after I casually
remarked that I had once seen it. "You must have found it or found the
reference somewhere in Texas," he wrote in exasperation. Neither of us
ever located it, much to his chagrin.
By the fall of 1956 I had completed the final draft and sent it to
Dobie. On September 28, he wrote: "The manuscript came yesterday. I
am seeing Frank Wardlaw today and shall deliver it to him. Prepare to
be patient in receiving judgment. Now you'll have some time in which
to read great books." This led to my meeting another exceptional man
who would influence my life, Frank H. Wardlaw, with whom my father
and I would have some of our most cherished good times.
The University of Texas Press accepted the book, and I immediately
wrote Dobie asking him to do a foreword. On May 3, 1957, he wrote: "I
was wondering the other day when the University of Texas Press would
make its decision. Now I'm delighted to know what it is. My foreword
won't do the book much good, but I shall write it gladly. Come to see
me again and bring your father."
The book came out at the time of my graduation, in May, 1958, and
Dobie wrote on May 25: "As the time for delivering an introduction ap-
proached, I rather dreaded trying to write it, but after starting com-
position, I enjoyed the writing." He also said: "I like your book bound
as well as I liked it when I first read it. There is no other satisfaction
quite like having a piece of writing in print between boards."
"Without your having said so," he wrote, "I judge that you are going
to be a historian. To me that means you will cultivate lucidity and a
way of making the past vivid as well as you'll cultivate knowledge. It
also means you will cultivate a liberated mind, free from prejudices and
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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/m1/143/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.