The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 61
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
morrow-the routine would have done justice to a man half Dr. Webb's
age. His great good friend, J. Frank Dobie, said that while Webb's knee
joints had become stiffer, his "intellectual movements" had become
"much more flexible and limber."2 When I knew him, Dr. Webb was a
young man in his seventies.
In so many ways I found him to be a paradox-all of his work had
been done on the past, but all of his thinking was on the future. A
wealthy man, a crafty poker player and driver of a hard real-estate bar-
gain, at ease with people of power and renown, and yet penurious (ex-
cept with his time and concern) and an easy mark for a sob story, he was
equally comfortable with the least pretentious of people (like the folks
who made a second home for him at his much-loved Friday Mountain)
and was always bested in the lunch-hour arguments with his daughter
at the Night Hawk, where I sometimes refereed the three of us into
complete indigestion. He was the kind of a man who could work up a
real hate for the John Birchers (whom he called "vermin" in a letter to
President John F. Kennedy in December of '61), yet all of his life have
great concern for the people he really loved, like the sister whose fam-
ily he helped to raise and his own daughter, Mildred, whose future,
without family then, worried him.
And so it was that in my time there, ideas sometimes bombasted out
of 10o2, or seeped out, or were confined there until such time as their
release would have the best effect-those ideas, effusions of that bril-
liant mind, which ranged from the newest concept in videotaped his-
torical research and lectures to how to stay young and love it ("Stay
away from old people!"). In between there were always plans for the
next project, like the lecture bureau that he and his bride, Terrell, were
planning to set up and I would coordinate, and which would make us
all a pile of money. That would be exciting!
Scholars of academia will write of his intellectual achievements and
of his honors and awards, and rightly so. I will try to introduce you to
Dr. Webb the man, so that in having met him, your knowledge of those
achievements will be all the more enriched.
I'm glad you're here early. He gets furious with himself for getting
drowsy in the afternoons and he goes stomping out toward his car (al-
ways parked in a "Reserved for the Disabled" zone-"I defy them to
prove I'm not!"), hating to interrupt his work but horrified at the
2Walter Prescott Webb, An Honest Preface and Other Essays (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,
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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/m1/88/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.