The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 76
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The books and "paper-backs" present wide vagaries in domi-
nant subjects, arrangement, format, typography, and appor-
tionment of space, but all express belief in the inherent value of
the people who appear as actors and of the soil which nurtured
them. They tend toward optimism; there is hardly ever present
a note of pessimism. They tend to deal with simple rather
than complex things. There is, in the main, a contagious inti-
macy about subject and style of writing. They do tell well
the influence of time and place upon actors, ideas, customs, and
subjects. Many are fascinating stories of the way Texas people
have thought, lived, and acted. Although often not in them-
selves brilliant analyses, they frequently make a large contri-
bution to the basic materials from which scholars may draw
syntheses of the way of life of Texas people. To say that these
accounts have shortcomings is to say that homo sapiens has
shortcomings. Some county histories stand the basic test for all
real literature where this product is defined as that which springs
directly from the people and deals with the essentials of life;
they have announced and dilated the characteristics of a speci-
What are the values which appeal to the collectors of county
histories and, in a general way, to those interested in com-
munity history? What is there, if anything, of merit in the
books and materials which they so zealously seek out and treas-
ure? Is there any inherent worth? What shall we say of
them by way of general appraisal? The values, actual and
potential, that may be assigned to local or county history
studies are many, but they will probably vary in application
as widely as do individuals within the group interesting itself
in the pursuit of local history.
The Texas county histories may be an avenue for under-
standing and developing an appreciation for the hardihood of
pioneer settlers. To know the pioneer well is to develop a back-
ground in principles of local growth and community experiences
which underlie the county's evolution. Out of the principles
found in the backgrounds may come the means for making the
community intelligible. Once it becomes intelligible there may
arise a social philosophy for adapting one's self to life in a
modern-world community. A grasp of local conditions, folk-
ways and mores, may frequently be more important to adapta-
tion than a knowledge of things on a strictly national scale.
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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/m1/82/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.