The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 259

Book Reviews

perintendent of Austin Public Schools for thirty-nine years), and her
mother. Whether she mended football jerseys, ordered groceries, or
entertained her daughter's beaux, she notes quotidian domestic events
with warmth and, even, pride. This is a readable and informative text
for both the professional historian and the interested layperson.
University of Texas Medical Branch MEGAN SEAHOLM
Brush Country Woman. By Ada Morehead Holland. (College Station,
Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 1988. Pp. xix. Preface, ac-
knowledgments, photographs, map, bibliography. $17.50.)
Helen Sewell Harbison became a Texan in February, 1908, when she,
along with her parents and five brothers and sisters, moved from Kan-
sas to a ranch near Hebbronville, a small town in South Texas. Helen
was a precocious child who quickly adapted to the physically and emo-
tionally demanding life on her parents' dryland ranch and farm.
Helen's father, Ike, wanted his children to receive an education, but
there was no school in Hebbronville. Three years after moving to
Texas, Ike was instrumental in establishing a school close enough to his
home that his children could attend it. Before establishment of the
school, Helen helped her father in the fields and her mother in the
house. Despite her rather slow start in getting an education, Helen was
able to attend the University of Texas at Austin, for one year. After that
one year in college, she was eligible to teach, and did so at a small school
not too distant from her parents' ranch.
Helen married a Texas Ranger. They purchased land near Hebbron-
ville and raised their family on it. After her husband's death, Helen
proved to be an intelligent and capable rancher in an era in which
women were considered incapable of such a feat. She successfully and
single-handedly ran her ranch. In only a few years she was able to pay
off her husband's considerable medical bills, buy cattle and new farm
equipment, and maintain the dairy, farm, and ranch.
Ada Morehead Holland has researched the life of Helen S. Harbison
extensively. Holland taped interviews with Mrs. Harbison and talked
with Helen's children and friends.
This superb research and the book's usually even flow are, in this re-
viewer's opinion, the book's strongest points. Holland has gone to great
pains to maintain the chronology and historical accuracy of her work;
this accuracy gives the book value as a historical reference.
In contrast to these features, however, are some less desirable aspects
of the book. Holland uses short, rather simplistic sentences that seem


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. ( accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.