Austin History Center

J. Frank Dobie Newspaper Columns Scrapbook

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Austin History Center
Title: J. Frank Dobie Newspaper Columns Scrapbook
Dates: 1926-1962
Abstract: J. Frank Dobie was an American folklorist, writer, and newspaper columnist best known for his writings on Texas history, culture, and folklore. The scrapbook is a compilation of Dobie's Sunday syndicated newspaper columns and other newspaper articles dating from the 1920s through the 1960s.
Accession number: AR.1993.017
Quantity: 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

J. Frank Dobie, folklorist, was born on a ranch in Live Oak County, Texas, on September 26, 1888. In 1906 he enrolled in Southwestern University in Georgetown, where he met Bertha McKee, whom he married in 1916, and Professor Albert Shipp Pegues, his English teacher, who encouraged him as a writer. He worked two summers as a reporter, first for the San Antonio Express and then the Galveston Tribune. He got his first teaching job in 1910 in Alpine, where he was also the principal, play director, and editor of the school paper. He returned to Georgetown in 1911 and taught in the Southwestern University preparatory school until 1913, when he went to Columbia to work on his master's degree. With his new M.A. he joined the University of Texas faculty in 1914. At this time he also joined the Texas Folklore Society. Dobie left the university in 1917 and served for two years in the field artillery in World War I. His outfit was sent overseas right at the war's end, and he returned to be discharged in 1919. In 1919 he published his first articles. He resigned his position at the university in 1920 to manage his uncle Jim Dobie's ranch.

Dobie returned to Austin and the university in 1921. On April 1, 1922, Dobie became secretary of the Texas Folklore Society and immediately began a publication program. Dobie served as the society's secretary-editor for twenty-one years and built the society into a permanent professional organization. After years of an on-again, off-again relationship with the University of Texas he was dismissed in 1947. After this separation Dobie devoted all of his time to writing and anthologizing.

Dobie wrote a Sunday newspaper column from 1939 until his death in 1964. His most celebrated targets were professional educationists ("unctuous elaborators of the obvious"); state politicians ("When I get ready to explain homemade fascism in America, I can take my example from the state capitol of Texas"); Pompeo Coppini's Alamo cenotaph ("From a distance it looks like a grain elevator or one of those swimming pool slides"); and inappropriate architecture (a friend reports his saying that the University Tower, into which he refused to move, "looked like a toothpick in a pie, ought to be laid on its side and have galleries put around it"). His war against bragging Texans, political, social, and religious restraints on individual liberty, and the mechanized world's erosion of the human spirit was continual.

SOURCE: adapted from the The Handbook of Texas Online

ACCESSED: 2012 January 31

Scope and Contents

The majority of scrapbook is a compilation of Dobie's syndicated Sunday column as printed in the Austin American-Statesman. In addition to these columns there are a few articles written for The Daily Texas Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman and as a guest columnist for other newspapers. The scrapbook was compiled by the staff of the Austin-Travis County Collection (now the Austin History Center) and the articles are dated 1926, 1943-1962 with some undated clippings as well.


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964.
Austin (Tex.)--Social life and customs.
Authors, American--20th century.
Folklorists--United States.

Related Material

Austin Files - Biography-Dobie, J. Frank

General Collection - Many of the works of J. Frank Dobie are available in the General Collection. Also available are several biographies about Dobie.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

J. Frank Dobie Newspaper Column Scrapbook (AR.1993.017). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: unknown

Processing Information

Finding aid was created and encoded by Molly Hults/2012.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 J. Frank Dobie newspaper column scrapbook, 1926, 1943-1962, undated