The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 49
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
known western lands by Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Zebulon M.
Pike, and other explorers of the period turned the eyes of the entire
nation westward. The victory over Mexico by a small band of Texans in
1836 and the establishment of Texas as an independent empire, where
freedom and free land prevailed, truly ignited the imagination of the
people and leadership of the United States and gave a romantic and
idealistic impetus to the emerging spirit of manifest destiny. The Treaty
of Hildago, executed between the United States and Mexico upon the
termination of the Mexican War, awarded to the United States all lands
west of the Louisiana Territory and south of the Oregon Territory, all
the way to the Pacific Ocean. This treaty unfurled the Stars and Stripes,
as the song goes, "from sea to shining sea" and brought into the United
States a geographic area and natural resources that, combined with the
existing area and resources of the country, laid the foundation upon
which has been built a nation ever growing in strength and influence in
Believing in and inspired by this hypothesis, my early acquisition of
library material relative to the history of Texas and the Mexican War,
which had been motivated by the sheer pleasure of reading and per-
sonal study, grew into a driving aspiration to collect books, pamphlets,
graphics, pictures, manuscripts, newspapers, documents, and other
material that could be a nucleus for a research library to be located at
the University of Texas at Arlington. Here students, scholars, and just
folks like myself can discover and be inspired by the importance and
relevance of history, and in particular the part Texans have played in
the building of our nation.
As one studies the writings by and about Dr. Webb, I urge that he or
she not overlook his speeches. It may be that one will find there the
true heart and soul of Walter P. Webb. To this end in 1969, I published
a single volume of some of his speeches with the title History as High
Adventure. The speeches centered around Dr. Webb's ideas about his-
tory, the meaning of history and its function, and the writing and
teaching of history. Before the end of the century I hope to publish
about three more volumes of his speeches. One volume could contain
his ideas about the West, the second would focus upon his hypothesis
concerning the place of the desert in western history, and the third
would include his speeches on varied and miscellaneous subjects, such
as the one entitled "Marble Toilets."
Publications issued by my son, Jenkins Garrett, Jr., also reflect Dr.
Webb's influence. His first book was Charles W. Hayes's "History of the
Island and the City of Galveston," typeset in 1879 but never printed. In
the preface to the book, Larry J. Wygant emphasized the timeliness of
its publication by quoting Dr. Webb's observation that "practically noth-
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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/m1/76/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.