The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 77
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Texas County Histories
One rather appealing definition which has been given of civ-
ilization is that it is a process of remembering things. The
recent wave of museum building throughout Texas is a closely
associated case in point. Museums and books-and here partic-
ularly county histories-collectively account for much of a com-
munity's memory. It is thus that museums and libraries are
agencies of culture and conservers of civilization. This conserva-
tion of the past--in museums and on printed pages-is impor-
tant in the light of the lessons of universal history which
teaches that the peoples who have let themselves become de-
pendent on others for the qualities of their civilization are not
only economically exploited but are also divested of political
rights. Thus an interest in a community's or county's past
may be a first step taken at home in the preservation of liberty
itself; which is almost another way of saying that genuine pa-
triotism-like many other worth while things-begins at home.
The word patriotism is derived from patria (fatherland), which
has to do with attitudes toward home and land. Thus through
the county histories-through their feeling for and attention
to home and land-may be engendered and encouraged the
finest type of patriotism in which Clio becomes the hand-
maiden of civilization and culture flowers from our own soil.
At any time the genius of collection becomes real where it
gives to books, objects, or facts collected new perspective, value,
or utility. And it must be emphasized that the values derived
may be either tangible or intangible. While county history offers
certain ends in itself it may be an avenue for developing interest
in state, national, or world history.
The existence of the Texas State Historical Association, or
any state historical society, is convincing evidence of the con-
tinuing interest of many citizens in the historic past of the
state itself. But Texas may be surveyed from two viewpoints:
(1) as a political unit in the nation's history, or (2) as an
entity made of up of smaller units. In other words, a state his-
torical group might have a dominant interest in the national
relations of the state or in its local history. It should be inter-
esting to chart the course of the Texas State Historical Associa-
tion to see whether its dominant interests in the past have
been in the outside or inside of the Texas structure. A check
of the early volumes of The Quarterly will show them rich in
reminiscences of participants in the Anglo-American phase of
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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/m1/83/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.