The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 133
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
He looked at me intently for a moment, tamped and relit his pipe
with a kitchen match, and gave me that Dobie grin again.
"A lot of people take my course who can't write, don't want to write
and never expect to write," he said. "They take it because they like to
read and because they want to learn something of their heritage and
because they have heard it's a fun course. The last part may be some-
what true, but it's also work. In my course, you both read and write and
it's a lot of work."
He asked me dozens of questions. It seemed to please him that I was
a native Texan, that I was born in a small town, and that, at age sixteen,
I had written and published my first book-a brief history of that
town.2 Then he asked me to tell him a true story or two out of my lim-
A half hour later, he had accepted me in his course. We also had be-
The title of course 342 was a misnomer. It should have been called
"Life with Dobie in the Literature of the Southwest." Everything we
read and wrote was colored, embellished, and made to come alive
through his lectures, his criticisms of our literary efforts, and the stories
he told of his own experiences as writer, folklorist, and historian.
The class was work, just as he had promised. We had to read a book
each week and write a report on it. This included everything from
Charles A. Siringo's A Texas Cow Boy to the works of Andy Adams and,
of course, Dobie.
It was fun as well. Dobie's assistant, Frank Goodwyn, was a lanky in-
tellectual who looked and talked like a cowhand and who loved to play
the guitar. Many class periods were devoted to Frank's picking while he
and Dobie sang-or tried to sing-the ballads of the range that John A.
Lomax had gathered not too many years before. And always the class
was entertained by the stories, true and otherwise, that only Dobie and
Goodwyn could tell. When Dobie told a story, his eyes lit up, his face
beamed, and he grinned from ear to ear.
His grin usually was present even when he handed back papers, al-
though the grades on them often left little for the student to smile
about. Dobie was unique among University of Texas professors in that
he operated a two-tier grading system. This meant that his assistant,
Goodwyn, got first crack at the student story or report, and he was
nearly always generous. An A on a Goodwyn-graded paper wasn't un-
usual-a C was.
2.Jack R. Maguire, A Short Hstory of Denzson, Texas: "The Gate City" (Denison, Tex.: F. W. Miller
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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/m1/160/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.