The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 356
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the historical value of what is generally classed as merely
When he began collecting, there were few collectors of Tex-
asana, and few Texas libraries had any Texas material at all.
He lived to see hundreds of collectors and to be regarded by
them as the wisest and best informed of all men from whom
they could buy a book. He helped educate the educated people
of Texas to appreciate their own history and records. Some of
the best parts of the autobiography are on Texas books. Like
Governor O. M. Roberts, E. L. Shettles realized that culture
must be "home-made," that it can't be imported; that the lit-
erature of any country will grow only out of its own life and
records; that the history which comes home to the bosoms of
any people is the history of their own blood-their own life-
stream-their own past.
Mr. Shettles sold one collection of Texas books, valued at
several thousand dollars, to the library of Sam Houston State
Teachers College, at Huntsville. For years he traveled up and
down and over the South gathering material to be paid for out
of the Littlefield Fund, which George W. Littlefield gave to The
University of Texas for building up a collection of Southern
history. This collection and the Texas Collection in The Uni-
versity of Texas will always be marked by the wisdom, knowl-
edge and energy of E. L. Shettles. His last work was to assem-
ble a notable body of literature on the pioneer religious history
of America, with especial reference to the South and Southwest.
This is now in the library of The University of Texas.
In 1924 he published William S. Red's The Texas Colonists
and Religion, and in 1933 Don Biggers' Our Sacred Monkeys,
or 20 Years of Jim and Other Jams. He was the chief inspira-
tion for M. Phelan's two-volume History of Methodism in Texas.
He wrote a sketch of the life of Jesse Lee as a preface for a
reprint of Lee's A Short History of the Methodists of the United
States of America. The files of The Arkansas Methodist con-
tain various brief historical articles that he contributed to that
He worked long and usefully. He cast a shadow which, though
not seen, will not be buried with his body. It is due both him
and the record that his autobiography should be printed in
book form so that more people may read this honest, informing
The University of Texas.
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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/m1/395/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.