The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986 Page: 232
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The West Wind Blows, edited by Arrell M. Gibson, begins in 1889 when
the Dale family moved to a half-dugout on a 16o-acre claim in Greer
County, Texas (Oklahoma after 1896), and turned ranchers. Needing
to recover his losses in a cattle ranch venture and to finance improve-
ments on a homestead acquired in a lottery of the Comanche Reser-
vation, Dale, with no more than twelve-months previous schooling,
attended summer normals and obtained by examination a teaching cer-
tificate. For the next nine years he taught in one-teacher schools, earn-
ing during this time a degree from the University of Oklahoma.
From 1913 to 1921 Dale alternately was a student at Harvard Univer-
sity (carrying with him his Colt .45 pistol), where under the guidance of
Frederick Jackson Turner he obtained the M.A. (1914) and the Ph.D.
(1921) degrees, or an instructor at the University of Oklahoma. There-
after until retirement, except for two years in the 1920S when on leave,
he was at the University of Oklahoma. During his leaves of absence he
wrote a report for the Bureau of Agriculture on the plains cattle indus-
try and served on a commission studying the problems of American In-
dian tribes. From 1924 to 1942 he served as head of the Department
of History and from 1927 to 1954 as director of the Phillips Collec-
tion. After retirement in 1954 he taught one year at the University of
Melbourne and three years at the University of Houston. He died in
1972 while still working on his autobiography. In The West Wind Blows
Dale devotes approximately 30 percent of his narrative to his pre-
Harvard years, 35 percent to his Harvard years and marriage, 17 per-
cent to his two years while on leave, and the remainder to his role as
departmental chief, post-retirement career, publications, and "Our In-
Of the eighteen books that Dale authored, coauthored, or edited the
most significant are The Range Cattle Industry, Indians of the Southwest,
and Frontier Ways. The West Wind Blows probably belongs in this cate-
gory. More than an autobiography, it is a vivacious portrayal of the
mundane folkways of the myriad groups with whom the author associ-
ated, including even Bostonians, during four decades of Oklahoma's
transition from a grassland frontier to a modern society. By narrating
things of little significance, including food, dress, boarding with a fam-
ily of four in a small one-room house, sleeping on the ground while
attending school, and the remarks of Indians that revealed a cultural
transition, Dale has preserved a segment of the American heritage.
The simple, readable, and entertaining style is greatly enhanced by in-
numerable direct quotations or paraphrased statements. Since recollec-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 89, July 1985 - April, 1986, periodical, 1985/1986; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117151/m1/270/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.