The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 128
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the early stages of land distribution. Twenty-eight additional illustra-
tions-documents relating to land transactions plus a few more histori-
cal maps-provide further samples of the raw materials of Texas his-
tory that may be found in the General Land Office archives.
The textual framework is sensibly organized, first regionally, then
topically within regions, all within a broad chronology roughly reflect-
ing the settlement process. Unfortunately, the simplistic narrative is
cluttered with such inaccuracies as to dismay, even occasionally as-
tound, knowledgeable readers; moreover, its selective emphases could
sorely mislead the less informed. Still, it is generally readable and often
entertaining, thanks to the nicely turned phrases and pithy anecdotes
for which both of its authors are justly noted. Its greatest interest to
scholars may be that it constitutes an astute reading of the Texan
psyche, an eminently politic celebration of the Texan tribal tale for our
time. Those struggling to reconcile the state's tax structure with con-
temporary reality could find in this text instructive-and discourag-
ing-insights concerning the historical mind-set that balks their efforts.
On the other hand, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library is a
straightforward tool for scholars, principally those concerned with car-
tographic history or the processes of exploration and development of
the Texas coast. It is a selective, mainly chronological checklist of 559
maps whose dates of origin range from 1506 to the mid-twentieth cen-
tury. All entries give precise physical descriptions and publication data;
many include informative discussions of the circumstances of the map's
creation and its historical context.
The Rosenberg maps include some important rare or beautiful origi-
nals, ten of which are reproduced in this book. The library's archivists
emphasize in the preface, however, that theirs is a comprehensive col-
lection for the information of scholars rather than for connoisseurs of
maps. Hence it contains many reproductions and photographs of
otherwise inaccessible maps, as well as widely available published maps
of relatively recent origin. The collection's focus is upon Galveston, and
by extension Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and adja-
cent coasts. Those extensions have provided such broad scope as to
warrant acquisition of some early maps in which Galveston Island and
the Gulf Coast are conspicuous largely by their absence, but which illus-
trate the process by which explorers and mapmakers groped toward
knowledge of the region at issue.
Many who will never need to consult the meticulous checklist can
profitably read this book's introduction. Written by map specialist
Henry G. Taliaferro, who compiled the checklist, this analytical essay is
as tightly packed with information as any sixteen pages in print. More-
over, its extensive endnotes combine with Taliaferro's thorough bibli-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/152/: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.