Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993 Page: 38
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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Autograph parties became popular events atMcMurray 's Personal Book Shop. Gatheredfor the 1949publication
of Tom Lea's The Brave Bulls are (left to right) J. Frank Dobie, Lea, Percy Johnson, and Angus Cameron.
they were discovered in other parts of the country. A
good example is the checklist published in 1935 by
Whitmore & Smith shortly before the store's name
was changed to Cokesbury. The title page reads,
Check-List of Books On and About Texas and the
Great Southwest and Other Works, Compiled and
Published by Whitmore & Smith, 1308 Commerce
Street, Dallas, The South's Largest Book Store. The
twenty-eight page catalogue, which appeared shortly
before the Texas Centennial, opens with a forward
by Eugene C. Barker, the noted historian and professor
at the University of Texas. It also carried an
endorsement from J. Frank Dobie, who said, "Such
a list as you are making has long been needed. I
recommend both it and you." It then proceeds to
offer over 1500 titles by more than 500 authors,
including Andy Adams, Mary Austin, Herbert
Bolton, Eugene C. Barker, James T. DeShields, J.
Frank Dobie, Grant Foreman, Zane Grey, J. Marvin
Hunter, Norman G. Kittrell, Charles Siringo, Lota
Spell, Ernest Winkler, and Stark Young. Prices
ranged from $1 to $10, with most around $2.50 and
Cokesbury closed its doors in 1983, in a
decade that marked the end of an era in trade-book
marketing in major cities in America. Remarkable to
the end, it managed to compete with computerized
retailing chains in suburban malls, such as B. Dalton
and Waldenbooks, far longer than many of its department
Elizabeth Ann McMurray, owner of
McMurray's Personal Bookshop from 1938 to 1955,
came to Dallas as a recent graduate of the University
of Oklahoma in 1936 to manage Karl Placht's Beacon
Bookshop at the Texas Centennial. Right in the
middle of the Great Depression, McMurray was the
successful applicant out of several hundred who
responded to Placht' s ad in Publisher's Weekly. Her
enthusiasm and her natural affinity for books, their
authors, publishers, and readers more than made up
for her limited book experience as a student employee
at the University of Oklahoma Book Exchange.
Little is known and less has been written
about the Beacon Book Shop established by Placht
in the Electrical and Communications Building at
Fair Park. Proprietor of a bookshop by the same
name in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City,
Placht had already operated a successful and sizable
booth full of books at the 1935 California Pacific
International Exposition in San Diego.21 Placht renewed
his exclusive lease at Balboa Park for another
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Dallas County Heritage Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 5, Number 2, Fall, 1993, periodical, 1993; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35115/m1/40/: accessed June 17, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.