The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 351

E. L. Shettles, Man, Bookman, and Friend

the same time he retained a pamphlet in his hand, adding, "And
for this I'll give you fifteen dollars." Beginning in 1921, J. E.
Grinstead of Kerrville published for about four years a magazine
called Grinstead's Graphic. Like many other Texas publications
of its kind, it came to have for collectors and libraries the value
of a rarity. But J. E. Grinstead did not know this when one
days several years ago an enormous man appeared and intro-
duced himself as E. L. Shettles of Austin. Mr. Grinstead, in
telling me the story, said that he felt rather flattered that a
stranger should want a file of his magazine. He had only one
spare file and he gladly brought it forth. He was astonished
when Mr. Shettles asked him how much it was worth. He did
not want anything, he said. "But I am going to sell this,"
Mr. Shettles responded. "Considering what I will get for it, I
think twenty-five dollars would be a fair price to you"-and
he paid.
How Mr. Shettles loved to talk books to somebody who could
understand and whom he liked! Last winter a book dealer from
Kansas City came to Austin and expressed the wish to meet
Mr. Shettles. What dealer of any consequence in America does
not know his name? Mr. Shettles had then been confined to
his room for a long time and was spending most of his hours
in the bed from which he received us. Not the least mental
deterioration was detectable in him, however. The Kansas City
dealer mentioned some rare pamphlet into possession of which
he had come. He had forgotten its date. Mr. Shettles supplied
it, told him where the pamphlet was printed, gave him some
facts about the author, recalled how, when and where he him-
self acquired his own first copy of it, at what price, to whom
he sold it and at what price. He went into the subject matter
of the pamphlet, noted casually certain printed items that had
preceded it, and then named a still rarer pamphlet published
in reply to it.
In our visits, politics frequently came up. If they did, it did
not take me long to understand that Brother Shettles was
against any office-seeker who was a deceiver or an anti-prohibi-
tionist. There were a lot of office-seekers and office-holders,
not even a majority of them dead, that he was not for. He was
a Democrat, but placed principles above party. He did not care
anything about gossip and trivial talk. The three subjects that
he most often talked on with me were political and social trends,
the past as he had lived and observed it, and books, including,


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