The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 287
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east Texas town of Commerce, he grew up on a cotton farm. "He'd always
been interested in history, even when he was a kid," recalled daughter Su-
san. "He was determined that he would do something other than raise
and pick cotton."
As he studied history, therefore, he remained a Texan-at East Texas
State in Commerce and at the University of Texas in Austin. At UT he was
nurtured by Walter Prescott Webb and worked his way to an M.A. in 1937
and a Ph.D. in 1942. To the day of his death, Gene tolerated not even a
hint of criticism of his beloved mentor.
While pursuing graduate work, Gene broadened his Texas horizons by
teaching high school and coaching football at Ozona, 1937-1940. Later
he taught undergraduate courses at the Schreiner Institute in Kerrville,
1942 to 1945. In the summer of 1938, as war clouds gathered over Eu-
rope, he broadened his horizons beyond Texas. He and an Ozona friend
crossed the Atlantic on a freighter and toured all the countries so soon to
be ravaged by war.
As a scholar, Gene bequeathed twin legacies. As a teacher, he spawned
a host of doctoral candidates whose enduring loyalty to him mirrored his
own to Webb and whose veneration never flagged. Many kept up an e-
mail conversation with him to the end; for Bob Carriker he was always
"Dr. Hollon." At the University of Oklahoma from 1945 to 1967 and at
the University of Toledo until his retirement in 1978, he nurtured dozens
of "Hollon students" and sent them forth to spread his standards of schol-
arship throughout academia.
As a second legacy, Gene left a body of published scholarly work. His
Southwest: Old and New (1961) found wide use in college classrooms, as
did the text on the American West he coauthored with LeRoy Hafen and
Carl Coke Rister. Frontier Violence (1974) proved more controversial, and
the few critical reviews enraged him. Other publications included Lost
Pathfinder: Zebulon Pike (1949, 1981), Beyond the Cross Timbers (1955), and
The Great American Desert (1966, 1975). He authored 70 articles and 150
In Austin in 1940, on a blind date, Gene met Bette Cross, who worked
in the office of the state attorney general. They were married a year later.
Bette died in 1993. Three years later, at a high school reunion in Com-
merce, he renewed a friendship with a classmate of old, Fern White. They
were married in 1996.
Recognition marked Gene's distinguished career: Fulbright twice,
NEH seminar director twice, Ohio Regents Professor, a 1980 festschrift
assembled by his students.
At Santa Fe in 1961 he joined with a handful of other westernists, in-
cluding Joe Frantz, to lay the groundwork for the Western History Associ-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/339/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.