The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 355
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E. L. Shettles, Man, Bookman, and Friend
to relate here his steps upward in the ministerial career. In
1894 he married Mrs. Elizabeth Letts, a wife both judicious and
faithful. Probably no step in his career as a preacher was more
determining in its influence than his appointment to the Uni-
versity Methodist Church at Austin. It brought him to the
library on which he was to have so much influence and to a
few men capable of sharing his interest in history. Chief among
these should be named E. W. Winkler.
He was appointed to various places, becoming a presiding
elder. He was a leader in prohibition activities. His interest
in history led him to arouse his own church to a regard for
its own history, and in 1909 he was largely instrumental in
founding the Texas Methodist Historical Society and in estab-
lishing The Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly, of which he
was assistant editor. He was coming to have one of the finest
collections in the country of books, pamphlets, manuscripts and
papers pertaining to Methodism in England and America, with
emphasis on Texas. He was beginning to make use of his
knowledge by selling to other collectors what he knew of where
and how to buy. His collection was coming to include all sorts
of material pertaining to Texas, whether related to the church
or not, also books on the South and the Civil War. He knew
the literature on bad men about as well as he knew that on
circuit riders. When Rice Institute was opened in 1912, he was
living in Houston and he presented its library with the first two
volumes to be acquired: Raines' Bibliography of Texas and
Kennedy's History of Texas.
It appears that Mr. Shettles began his book collecting about
1896. In the course of years he covered many subjects. He
came to know as much about the contents of books as scholars
and librarians to whom he sold books knew. He knew far more
about their intrinsic values and generally more about their com-
mercial values than the dealers with whom he traded. When
he retired from the ministry in 1921, he then being 69 years
old, his most active career as book collector and book dissemi-
nator lay ahead of him. The one place for him to locate was
Austin, where he could best work with his best customer, The
University of Texas. Four years previously he had presented
Southern Methodist University with a magnificent collection of
Wesleyana. Probably no other man in the South, certainly no
other man in Texas, did so much to make libraries and col-
lectors, and to no small extent historians also, conscious of
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/394/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.