This volume presents essays on fourteen writers who shaped Texas history in the twentieth century. The contributions of these individuals are described, and the essays also offer insights into the writers’ lives and personalities.
Four early professional historians form the initial group. Light Townsend Cummins introduces Charles W. Ramsdell, a southern historian who wrote a history of Reconstruction in Texas sympathetic to early white views and directed the collection of research materials at the University of Texas. Eugene C. Barker is presented by Patrick L. Cox as the premier historian of early Anglo settlement in Texas and editor of the quarterly journal of Texas State Historical Association. Michael L. Collins explores the career of Walter Prescott Webb, whose most important writings focused on the interaction of people and the environment in the Great Plains and the West. Dan Utley explains how Ernest W. Winkler contributed to Texas history as a librarian for the Texas State Library and the University of Texas.
A mid-twentieth century group includes six writers. Kenneth E. Hendrickson Jr. discusses Llerena Friend, who helped edit the original Handbook of Texas (1952) for the Texas State Historical Association, directed the Texas Collection at the University of Texas, and authored an important biography of Sam Houston. Don Graham explores the contributions of J. Frank Dobie, who collected the “raw material” (104) of southwestern folk tales, which he crafted into volumes of readable folklore. J. Evetts Haley is presented by B. Byron Price as a collector of ranching records for historical societies and libraries and author of books about ranchers and ranches, lawmen, and the frontier. Archie P. McDonald explains that Robert Maxwell, after writing about Wisconsin progressives, gathered records of lumber companies in East Texas for Stephen F. Austin State University and wrote books on that industry and forestry conservation. Carlos E. Castañeda is described by Félix D. Almaráz Jr. as a historian who served as curator of the Latin American Collection at the University of Texas, and edited and authored volumes on Spanish and Mexican Texas. Mary L. Scheer focuses on Robert Cotner’s contributions to teaching and service for the University of Texas and historical associations, while authoring a biography of Texas reform governor James Stephen Hogg.
Essays on four scholars of the late twentieth century complete this volume. [End Page 428] Américo Paredes is presented by Carolina Castillo Crimm as a literature professor at the University of Texas who collected and edited Mexican American folklore that challenged Anglo versions of Texas history. David G. McComb explores the career of Joe B. Frantz, author and editor of books on Texas history, leader in the department of history at the University of Texas and historical associations, and director of the Oral History Project for the LBJ Presidential Library. Ruthe Winegarten is described by Nancy Baker Jones as deeply committed to gathering materials and publishing books about women’s history in Texas, including volumes on minorities. Jesús F. de la Teja discusses the work of David J. Weber, a historian who authored important studies of the Spanish and Mexican borderlands and the directed creation of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.
The early lives of these writers included interests in athletics, music, and journalism, with several teaching first in public schools. They held diverse political views from conservative to liberal and became involved in struggles over political and professional appointments, academic freedom, civil rights, and national politics. Women and Hispanics are among the subjects of essays, but not African Americans. The authors of the essays are respected historians who have created a thoughtful volume about important writers of Texas history.