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Walter Prescott Webb and Terrell Maverick Webb, December 1961. Courtesy Walter Prescott Webb Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the University of Texas at Austin, (!¡#02593. Touched with a Sunset: The Letters of Terrell Maverick and Walter Prescott Webb A Love Story Edited by Betty Hannstein Adams* Terrell Maverick was sixty years old in ig6i when Walter Prescott Webb fell in love with her. She was the widow of Maury Maverick Sr., U.S. congressman and mayor of San Antonio. Walter Prescott Webb—he typically used all three names even when signing his love letters—was a seventy-three-year-old professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, former director of the Texas State Historical Association, former president of the American Historical Association, and a recent widower. In a time before cell phones and e- * Betty Hannstein Adams was born in Guatemala in 1929 to a German-Guatemalan fatiier, Walter Hannstein, and his North American wife, Marley. Betty became Guatemala's first woman pilot in 1949 when she took flying lessons with money earned by working as a secretary and translator for die Pan American Sanitary Bureau Onchocerciasis project in central Guatemala. She married anthropologist Richard N. (Rick) Adams in 1951, moving widi him to Austin in 1962 after he accepted appointments with the Institute of Latin American Studies and die Department of Anthropology. It was at diis time diat Betty and Rick became friends widi die Webbs (as mentioned below, Betty had first met die Webbs prior to moving to Austin). Aldiough die friendship was interrupted by Walter Prescott Webb's deadi, Betty's friendship widi Terrell resumed later. The result of diis friendship is Touched widi a Sunset" Betty Hannstein Adams published Eloy Quiroga: Un Obrero que Desafió a su Mundo in 1974, a biography of a Bolivian migrant to an Argentinian slum, and Early Twentieth Century Life in Guatemala, die personal narratives of her father, in 1995. In 1987 she inherited family coffee land in the southwestern Guatemala highland cloud forest. The farm has been her central interest for die past twenty-two years as it was developed into die ecologically acclaimed coffee farm called Oriflama. The gourmet coffee produced in Oriflama is sold principally byJava City Coffee Company in die United States. Betty Hannstein Adams met Terrell Maverick Webb and Walter Prescott Webb in 1961 at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island. Her brother-in-law, Thomas R. Adams, was curator of die library, and he had invited Webb to give a lecture there. They met again in Austin in ig62 and struck up a friendship. In 1978 Betty Adams began a series of interviews with Terrell Webb, and in 1980 Terrell gave Adams copies ofthe correspondence between her and Webb from i960 to 1963. Adams would like to diank Dr. Don Carleton, executive director; Alison Beck, associate director for media; and Holly Taylor, head of publications, and all of die Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at die University ofTexas at Austin for their support, encouragement, and editorial assistance. Taylor in particular has been tremendously helpful in preparing diis project for publication. She would also like to tiiank Janice Pinney, former publications director at die Texas State Historical Association, for her detailed and helpful work on die project, and Kate Adams, who read and edited an earlier version of diese letters. Vol. CXIII, no. ? Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly 2009 56Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly mail, the two communicated almost exclusively by mail during their courtship. They also exchanged letters when one of them was traveling, both during their courtship and after their marriage. There was a certain urgency to this courtship that only age can lend; Webb in particular writes as a man conscious of his time running out. He also wrote as a man with a view toward posterity. He frequently mentioned that their letters might be published someday, and sent Terrell a list of suggestions for how she could annotate his letters for future reference (instructions that do not appear to have been followed) . Webb also believed that the letters would be of interest because they chronicle a love story happening as a closing chapter in life rather than...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 54-85
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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