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The Archives

The Archives will become a repository of articles, images and information that may have been published elsewhere through the years. Please contact us for permission to use or publish these resources elsewhere.

Articles

  • Dobie & Webb
    Nowadays, when folks recall J. Frank Dobie chances are it is as a part of a “triumvirate” of Texas authors, along with Roy Bedichek and Walter Prescott Webb. During the 1950s and early-1960s, they dominated the state’s literary scene. All were all University of Texas professors, all supported each other’s work, and all three were chums who often socialized together, occasions noted in society pages of local newspapers. Read more …
  • A Hard Lot: Texas Women in the Runaway Scrape
    From the beginning, the women of Gonzales had supported the Texian revolt. In October, 1835, when Mexican dragoons attempted to reclaim the town’s cannon, the ladies had urged their men to resist. When the shooting started, Naomie DeWitt took scissors to her wedding dress to provide a flag that depicted a lone star, the cannon, and a belligerent challenge to the Mexicans. Read more …
  • San Jacinto: The Experience of Battle
    The late Sir John Keegan observed: “Many armies, beginning as crowds, remain crowdlike throughout their existence.” He was probably not thinking of the Texian Army of 1836 as he wrote those words, but they go far to explain its conduct. Read more …
  • “Valor, Wisdom, and Experience”: Early Texas Rangers and the Nature of Frontier Leadership.
    Spurred by Napoleonic notions of glory, Luther Giddings followed General Zachary Taylor into Mexico in 1846. As an officer in the First Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, he was no spit-and-polish regular. The Ohioan nonetheless shared a number of assumptions with West Pointers.  Read more …
  • Lines in the Soil: Lines on the Soul: Myths, Fallacies and Canards That Obscure the Battle of the Alamo.
    His first visit to the Alamo greatly stirred A. B. Lawrence. The year was 1840 and the old mission still lay in ruins. Nevertheless, already San Antonio de Béxar’s leading tourist attraction, its cold stones possessed the ability to inspire. Read more …
  • Plácido Benavides: Texas Hero or Tejano Turncoat?
    This article is a reconsideration, correction, and cautionary tale for historians—young and old. In 2006, Dr. Frank de la Teja, professor and chairman of the Texas State University History Department, approached me to participate in a symposium on his campus. The conference, he explained, would examine the contributions of Tejano leaders before the formation of the Texas Republic. He invited me, and several other Texas historians interested in Tejano topics, to prepare lectures on individual leaders. Under Frank’s editorship, the expanded essays eventually saw publication in the anthology, Tejano Leadership in Mexican and Revolutionary Texas. Frank asked me to take on Plácido Benavides. Read more …
  • J.H. Kuykendall’s Recollections of William B. Travis
    Nestled deep within the bowels of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, is a document few have examined, or even know about. It is a narrative sketch of William Barret Travis by his law clerk, J. H. Kuykendall. This reminiscence, contains details about Travis’s character and personality that no other source reveals. Find below some of my observations concerning this rare source—and the full text of Kuykendall’s recollections. Read more …

Texana Classics Series

As some of you know, I am an avid book collector. Since 1986, I have been slowly acquiring volumes identified by the late John H. Jenkins in his 1983 bibliography Basic Texas Books: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works for a Research Library. I currently have all of them . . . except one. You cannot imagine how much that bothers me.

In this space, I will discuss some of my favorites, books that have not only depicted the Texas experience but also defined it. I hope fans of the website will find these chats both instructive and revelatory. We will be talking about Texas books, Texas authors, and the finer points of book collecting.

Texana Classic I

Nicholas Doran P. Maillard.
The History of the Republic of Texas, From the Discovery of the Country to the present Time; and the Cause of Her Separation from the Republic of Mexico.
London: Smith, Elder, and Co., Cornhill, 1842.
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Texana Classic II

Sallie Reynolds Matthews.
Interwoven, A Pioneer Chronicle.
New edition. El Paso: Carl Hartzog, 1958. Adds photograph of the author in 1938, drawings by E. M. “Buck” Schiwetz, and an introduction by Robert Nail. Deletes the Will James introduction.
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Texana Classic III

Athanase de Mézières.
Athanase de Mézièrs and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1768-1780: Documents Published for the First Time, From the Original Spanish and French Manuscripts, Chiefly in the Archives of Mexico and Spain. Edited and Annotated by Herbert Eugene Bolton. Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1914. Two volumes: 351; 392 pp. Folding map. Two illustrations. Six facsimiles. Twenty-four cm. Cloth.
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Texana Classic IV

José Antonio Pichardo.
Pichardo’s Treatise on the Limits of Louisiana and Texas: An Argumentative Historical Treatise with Reference to the Verification of the True Limits of the Provinces of Louisiana and Texas; Written by Father José Antonio Pichardo, of the Congregation of the Oratory of the San Felipe Neri, to Disprove the Claim of the United States that Texas was Included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
Edited and translated by Charles Wilson Hackett. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 1931, 1934, 1941, 1946. Four volumes: xx, 630; xv, 618; xxii; 623; xiii, 415. Five maps (four folding). 24 cm. Cloth, dustjackets.
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Teachers’ Corner

This section of the website is devoted to the thousands of fourth- and seventh-grade Texas History teachers who toil in the trenches to introduce the state’s rich legacy to the next generation. They all have my profound respect and admiration.

They will find below a number of resources they can use in their classes—without restriction and free of charge.

For twenty years my wife Deborah was an award-winning Texas History teacher in Victoria and Abilene. She is retired now, but she has agreed to assist me with this portion of the site. She has accumulated a wealth of materials and is happy to share them.

So, if you are a teacher, a student, or the parent of a student—watch this space! Deb and I are going to work hard to make sure that it is loaded with useful content.

  • Primary Document – Travis’s Letters (download PDF)
    Compare and contrast the letters written by William Barret Travis while the Alamo was under siege.
  • Excerpt from Noah Smithwick (download PDF)
    Evolution of a State: or Recollections of Old Texas Days. Austin, Texas: Gammel Book Company, 1900. Pgs. 112-117.
  • Battles of the Texas Revolution
    Presentation (download PDF-1.7 MB file)
    Lesson Plans (download PDF)
    Information Sheet (download PDF)