The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Will's Texana Youtube Channel

I've developed a Youtube channel, Will's Texana Youtube Channel.  It's free, It's easy.  An account is called a channel.
Yes, I know and groan about the junk and ephemera that's there, but this last summer I wondered, just what IS there?  So I looked.  It took a while to get the hang of it all, but using a very undisciplined method which was also very unconsistent, I cobbled together 1,000 videos from other folks' channels and centralized them into 100 topical playlists
There are some drawbacks (e.g., Youtube doesn't allow for alphabetizing the 100 playlists, so you'll find them in a jumble of 100.)  I working on a means where by they can be alphabetizing on somebody's separate page, and this alternative would also enable the addition of other folks' playlists on other channels.
I'm issuing a report on Will's Texana Youtube Channel as a special issue of my Will's Texana Monthly.  If you'd like a free copy just let me know.  That report also includes a list of the 50 or so Youtube channels to which I subscribe, some rather professionally done - historical, contemporary, nature, gardening, media, etc - and some casually produced by individuals but worthy of notice and maybe your own subscription.
The WT Channel was first intended just as a device to record what I found.  Now it serves as a repository (if temporary) to nudge librarians, archivists, historians, teachers, and other interested folks to further explore Youtube and other video repositories for their long-term value.  Already one WT channel viewer, Joan Hood, has since begun her own channel, Joan's Texas Women Channel, to collect videos exclusively on that topic which I wouldn't be able to do as well at .
Actually, I encourage you to start your own channel, if not so much to produce your own videos, but to collect along special lines.
And tell me where to go and what to do when I get there!  It's a broad prairie with only slow rolling hills.  I could use some talk and thought.
See the whole shebang at

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas - Greaser

NEW GUIDE TO SPANISH AND MEXICAN LAND GRANTS IN SOUTH TEXASNEW GUIDE TO SPANISH AND MEXICAN LAND GRANTS IN SOUTH TEXAS.  Author and Compiler,  Galen D. Greaser.  Austin: General Land Office, Archives and Records, 2009.  3rd edition
343 Pgs., 8 &1/2 x 11, paperback.
In the 1970's Virginia Taylor compiled the Index to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants as a "quick reference" to trans-Nueces lands, and she revised it in the 1980's as Guide to Spanish and Mexcian Land Grants in South Texas.  Greaser, the much valued Translator and Curator of the GLO Spanish Collection, here offers a revised and significantly expanded version of that title. 
Therein he corrects and augments Taylor's entries, and he adds a substantial historical essay of 149 pages.  He also adds some appendices.  He also adds a glossary, a FAQ list, and a bibliography.  Some figures, maps, and illustration are new.  Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson relates in his foreword "The purpose of this 'New Guide' is to provide to all ready access to pertinent facts about the rich history of early land settlement in South Texas, yet another piece of the diverse mosaic of Texas land."
Each of the 363 grant entries is arranged by name of the recipient and usually described by its place, size, county, and abstract citation.  Following such are the nature of the title, a place of its common citation, its more recent confirmation, governmental patent of transferral, GLO file number, and occasionally other sources and notes.
Readers new to the topic will readily recognize via Greaser's historical essay that some background information is essential to commanding the field of knowledge, including his own essay.  The essay covers the Villas del Norte, the porcion grants relaled to the Visita General of 1767 (including Laredo, Hacienda de Dolores, Revilla, Lugar de Mier, Camargo, and Reynosa), the larger land grants of 1777-1800, Royal policy reforms of 1802-1812, the troubled times of the revolution years of 1810-1821, the stance of independent Mexico, the laws and grants of Tamaulipas, the troubles following the Texas Revolution and the Mexican American War, and certain confirmations.  All of which is deeply documented.  Readers should be patient with pencil and paper at hand.
The appendices cover topics including Andres Bautista, Jose Manuel Pereda, Jose Francisco Balli, salt and mineral rights, and certain points of Mexican law.
The glossary is particularly useful.  For example, a "Porcion" is an "Allotment of land; long-lot tracts of land, most along the river, granted to settlers of the towns established by Jose de Escandon...."
Public inquiry into this field will certainly increase over the years as Spanish land heritage becomes more popular.  This volume should be very widely available in libraries and historians' offices across the state.

ABC's of De - Robertson

The ABCs of De: A Primer on Everette Lee DeGolyer, 1886-1956. By Herb Robertson.  Dallas: SMU De Golyer Library, 2007. 195 pp. softcover, $15.00
To those in the petroleum industry De Golyer was a the scholar, the man who knew.  His awards and accolades from that industry will not likely be eclipsed.  But to those outside the industry, he's known for his bookish interests, hence his Everette Lee De Golyer Library at Southern Methodist University and his collections at numerous other institutions.  SMU describes their institution:   "The DeGolyer Library is the principal repository at SMU for special collections in the humanities, the history of business, and the history of science and technology. Its rare books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, and other materials are available to all SMU students, faculty, visiting scholars, and other researchers. DeGolyer Library's holdings of primary sources are supported by exhibitions, lectures, publications, and seminars. Dedicated to enhancing scholarship and teaching at SMU, the DeGolyer Library is charged with maintaining and building its various collections 'for study, research, and pleasure.' "
Herb Robertson, also an oilman, was fascinated with "De" or "Mr. De" and Roberson has spent years pouring over DeGolyer's own collection, testing the depths and characteristics of the giant.  This primer is one result of Robertson's inquiry.  The primer is a type of eclectic encyclopedia through which portions of DeGolyer's life and times may be pursued by the reader.
Mr. De was international.  Check the entries for Dean Acheson, Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt, Lazcaro Cardenas.  He ran with the Texas wildcatters; see Glenn McCarthy and Clint Murchison.  He touched and developed world petroleum views; see ARAMCO, Texaco, Royal Dutch.  He listened to Texas bookers; check Tom Lea, Dillon Anderson, Herbert Gambrell, Frank Dobie, Carl Hertzog, and Yankee Norman Cousins too!
Mr. De could convers equally on the Big Inch, the 1913 Seige of Tampico, the Mexican Expropriation of 1938, Creekology, Loose Thinking, Seismology, and Salt Domes.  From those he could turn and hold court on CASI, chili con carne, Joe Cooper, jalapenos, tortillas, and Stanley Marcus.
Among all this he took the time to write The Elements of the Petroleum Industry, such a simple title.
What else would you expect?  Even romantic love? see Gateswinger.
If you never met the man, as I never did, these entries are fascinating.

Huntsville by Littlejohn

Huntsville      Huntsville.  By Jeff Littlejohn and the Walker County Historical Commission. Charleston, SC:  Arcadia Publishing, 2009. 128 pages, b & w photographs, ISBN 9780738571331, $21.99.
Jeff Littlejohn teaches history at Sam Houston State University. He, James Patton, the Commission, the Arts Commission, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and the Thomason Archives have produced a delightful and diverse work.
The city is as old as the Republic of Texas.  Sam Houston found favor with the city's Walker County and had three homes there - in the forests and the urban cluster.  The place was a place of rich agricultural endeavor as the early African American population could well attest.   The spires and castellated towers of the churches demonstrate the well organized spiritual life.  Structures of Sam Houston State University and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice stand in mute testimony to the drives for education and civil obedience, both of which have served to enhance community abundance.
The two most interesting photos are the 1930 aerial view of the college and the several images of the prison facilities.  The Dairy Queen life of the 1950's reminds this viewer of the lesser juvenile crimes contemplated in Marshall in the same time period.  The sawmill shots recall the more modern images recalled while in Texas and Alaska working for college money. 
All in all, a well-produced work - balanced and insightful, if restrained.

Dumas by George

Dumas     Dumas.  By Louise Carroll George.  Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2009. 128 pages, b & w photographs, paperback.  ISBN: 9780738570617. $21.99.
In the middle of the volume is a 2-page spread showing the background mountains around Dumas.  I visited Dumas in 1979 while working at the nearby Amarillo Public Library, and I do not remember mountains.  There are none.  The "mountains" in question are the awesome, high, and dark clouds of dust that rolled into town April 14, 1935 as one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl.  What must have rolled through the first-hand viewers at the time can only be considered worthy of Hollywood disaster scenes.  But the photograph stands in testament.
We can thank Louise Carroll George for concerting this photo history of Dumas, Texas and its surroundings.  George has presented the area's history before in No City Limits and Some of My Heroes are Ladies.  The ladies on the front-cover no doubt had their own say in public in the 1910's because one of them was Cara May McKee, editor of the early Moore County Pioneer newspaper.
The most remarkable thing about Dumas' first decade was its abandonment three times before the glue held tight.  The over-200 photos collected by George cover the Alibates quarries, the Antelope Creek people of 800 years ago, Adobe Walls, on up to Goodnight and Bugbee, freighting, and the scarce population and flat land in that farming and ranching village that enjoyed an occasional boom from the oil and fields.  One of my favorite's is on page 50 featuring a windmill, an water tower and tank, and the courthouse for its sheer genuine honesty.  The more modern images reflect, flapppers, leather-headed footballers, early cars and airplanes, local refineries, World War warriors about to leave, business and retail settings.  Should you need proof, George provides graphic documentation of coyotes, roughnecks, harvesters, blizzards, and tumblweeds - much of which is likely in the Killgore Memorial Library, also included in Dumas.