The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 75
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Texas County Histories
which the family is familiar and of which it is often an integral
part. Nor is it particularly strange that this interest in the
intimate things of history develops in some individuals to the
point that they become collectors of all county histories.
In a sense the community is a world in miniature. Interna-
tional as was Waterloo, the battle occurred in some farmer's
field. The individual sees the world as a series of circles ever-
widening about a local setting. The average layman, in normal
times, feels little enthusiasm for foreign history-European,
Oriental, Latin-American, or African. He has only a slightly
greater interest in national history, except at election time. It
is, however, relatively easy to engage his attention in matters
having to do with the history of his own community. There
he is able to personalize history. Some generalized observations
on the characteristics of county histories may be offered in
explanation of this phenomenon. These statements are, how-
ever, suggestive and are subject to certain modifications. For
example, I am here interested largely in characterizing the
books written by participants or by their close associates. The
"mug books" promoted by outlanders and exploiters do not fit
Nearly all of the early Texas county histories are rich
in reminiscences; their authors wrote what they knew (or
thought they knew) because they were a part of the order
about which they wrote; the books they produced, therefore,
are not detached and objective studies-nor yet the product
of scientific research. They are written without regard for
the disciplines; they are more apt to come from the heart than
from scientific formula; they are not for the pedant-not for the
formalist. The men who wrote these accounts had never heard
of Professor Herbert B. Adams of the Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity, nor did they know that he was the follower of Leopold
von Ranke, German historian and apostle of the scientific ap-
proach to history. But these earlier volumes are in many ways
good examples of a people's writing of their own history, even
if without the helpful background of a general view of world
Local or county history is usually much more social than
political; it is a far cry from dynastic-political-international
history. It is the history of "little" men and whenever any
history is localized-reduced in scale--it tends inevitably to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/81/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.