The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987 Page: 414
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
book advertisements and announcements. The book is arranged in al-
phabetical order by author, with an index by entry number.
Few persons are more qualified than Jenkins to undertake such a
project. He has been a part of the Texas history and publishing scene
since his first book, Recollections of Early Texas: The Memoirs of John Hol-
land Jenkins, was issued in 1958-on the same day that he graduated
from high school. Besides his Cracker Barrel Chronicles-Jenkins's bibli-
ography of local and county histories-he has edited the ten-volume
Papers of the Texas Revolution, a compilation of Texas Revolution corre-
spondence that is a basic research tool for anyone researching the
topic. His work as a collector and rare-book dealer has been nationally
When he began this current work, Jenkins wrote to fifty-two indi-
viduals with a knowledge of books about Texas and asked for their rec-
ommendations on "basic" Texas works. Fifty-one responded-an amaz-
ing accomplishment in its own right. Jenkins used their suggestions and
those of hundreds of other correspondents in arriving at his final selec-
tion. The one person who did not respond, J. Evetts Haley, has more of
his books listed than any other author.
Jenkins's years of labor and wide knowledge of books, William R.
Holman's layout and design, and the careful editing and proofreading
make Basic Texas Books a valuable and essential tool for librarians, histo-
rians, book dealers, and Texana collectors. One wishes, though, that
the index differentiated between main and subordinate entries, per-
haps by using boldface type for main-entry references. Since the vol-
ume lacks a table listing the authors and titles included in the main re-
views, the lack of distinction among the index entries is a source of
some regret. The absence of diacritical markings in foreign-language
titles is a source of some criticism in an otherwise excellent work.
Jenkins has stated that the publication is not for book collectors, but I
cannot imagine a book collector, or any Texas scholar, without a copy.
Actually, the audience for Basic Texas Books will include anyone inter-
ested in Texas. This book is interesting, entertaining, and informative.
It was produced to be read. Joe B. Frantz, in reviewing William Bollaert's
Texas in this journal (LXI, 198), wrote: "thank the lord, [Bollaert] knew
how to write to be read .. ." I feel the same way about John Jenkins.
There is not a dull page in his Basic Texas Books.
At some point along the path of historical pursuits John Jenkins must
have angered Zeus. In 1965 Jenkins's Cracker Barrel Chronicles: A Bibli-
ography of Texas Town and County Histories was published, and in 1971 a
fire destroyed most copies and all the plates. Then on Christmas Eve,
1985, another fire almost totally destroyed the Jenkins Publishing Com-
pany in Austin, including most of the remaining copies of Basic Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 90, July 1986 - April, 1987, periodical, 1986/1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117152/m1/480/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.