The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 36
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Grandson Daniel Crooks and Bianca Babb Bell wearing a buffalo robe, 1945. photograph
courtesy of Anna Crooks.
which Bianca titled "A True Story of My Capture by, and Life with the
Comanche Indians," is a unique addition to the literature, for it repre-
sents, to our knowledge, the only first-person narrative of a girl captive's
time with any of the Southern Plains tribes. While the boy captives' nar-
ratives focused on their rowdy, violent adventures on the warpath and
the buffalo hunts, Bianca wrote mainly about her peaceful, contented
seven months in a Comanche village as the foster daughter of a young
widow. Her anecdotes about Comanche life are remarkably tender and
human. History professor Michael L. Tate described Bianca's narrative
as an "excellent account of Comanche captivity."2
The Comanche practice of taking captives was deeply rooted in con-
cerns of biological and cultural survival. Among the rugged-living
Plains horse cultures, presumed high rates of infant, childbirth, and
adult male mortality put a premium on keeping family units whole and
Indian admiration of courage." Phoebe S. Allen, "The Double Exposure of Texas Captives,"
Western Folklore, 32 (Oct., 1973), 254, 257. Also, an account of the Babb siblings' captivity by D.
L. Flenniken relies heavily on Bianca's narrative. D. L. Flenniken, "Comanche Captives Dot and
Bianca Babb," True West, 38 (July, 1991), 42-47. Another article on Comanche captives cited
Bianca's experience as illustrative of "the discovery of friends and protectors who could blunt
the ill treatment and offer good advice on adjustment to the foreign culture." Michael L. Tate,
"Comanche Captives: People Between Two Worlds," Chronicles of Oklahoma, 72 (Fall, 1994), 241.
2 Michael L. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography (Metuchen, N.J.: The
Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1986), 278.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/54/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.