The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 123
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
"More people have cultivated minds. More are aware of political,
economic, social, and educational affairs than when Jim Ferguson was
Dobie was a young English teacher in that period when controversy
between Ferguson and the University administration rocked the capital.
Even though learning was more commonplace than in earlier years,
Dobie added with a chuckle: "I don't know that a bigger majority is
Dobie largely ignored advances in technology. His home, including
his stuffy attic office, was not air-conditioned. Likewise, he cared little
"Takes too much time," he explained.
While Dobie was a reader, he shunned "slick magazines . . . too
Late in life and a successful author of many books and articles, Dobie
confided: "I'm still learning how to write. After a million words, writing
still isn't easy."
Dobie had once remarked to me that "Western" remains popular be-
cause it gives so many people "a sense of excitement which their own
lives lack, as well as a sense of freedom."
We live in a very exciting age, but our excitement makes us uneasy about the
future; it rips into our nerves like meat saws. The excitement of the Old West
calls for no personal responsibility (to its readers and watchers). It is kind
of soothing. We believe in free enterprise, but all modern talk about it is
Everybody with any sense knows we live in a managed economy-giant gov-
ernment managing one side and giant business the other. The Old West is a
dream of free men, free horses, free cattle, free Indians, free grass, free buf-
falo. It is a dream of freedom from management and, above all, freedom from
Others knew Frank Dobie much better than I, but none treasures
more the occasions when we had a chance to talk. Fortunately, I wrote
much of it down. One regret is that I became a member of Austin's
Town and Gown Club, an organization of academics, businessmen, and
professionals, too late to attend the meetings with Dobie, Webb, Bed-
ichek, and often Dr. Eugene C. Barker, the historian. Reports have
it that these off-the-record discussions were classics and sometimes
I learned of Frank Dobie's death on September 18, 1964, through a
mutual friend, Lon Tinkle, then book editor of the Dallas Morning
News. He called from Dallas to ask if I could help arrange for Dobie to
be buried in the State Cemetery, where many great Texans are interred.
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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/m1/150/: accessed June 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.