J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

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Notes on Texas cattle brands from the J. Frank Dobie Collection

J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

James Frank Dobie was born on September 26, 1888 in Live Oak County, Texas, to Richard J. and Ella Dobie. At the age of sixteen he went to live with his Grandparents in Alice, Texas where he completed high school. He enrolled in Southwestern University where he was introduced to English Poetry and met Bertha McKee, whom he married in 1916. After graduating in 1910 Dobie worked for the Galveston Tribune and the San Antonio Express, before attaining a high school teaching job in Alpine. He moved on to teach at the Southwestern Preparatory School and later earned his M.A. from Columbia University. In 1914 he joined the University of Texas faculty and as well as the Texas Folklore Society. He left the University and served for two years in field artillery during World War I.

After returning to Texas, Dobie published his first articles as a newspaperman in 1919. He made the decision to resign from his position at the University of Texas in 1920 in order to manage his Uncle Jim Dobie’s ranch. It was during his time on the ranch that Dobie’s passion for describing aspects of Texas lifestyle and culture was developed. Dobie was named the secretary of the Folklore Society in April of 1922. His first book, Vaquero of the Brush Country, was published in 1929. His other publications include: The Voice of the Coyote, The Mustangs, Tales of Old Time Texas, Up the Trail From Texas, I’ll Tell You a Tale and Cow People. He also wrote for the Southwestern Review and a Sunday newspaper column. Dobie died on September 18, 1964. Several schools and other buildings were named in Dobie’s honor and he was posthumously inducted into the Texas Heroes Hall of Honor.

The materials that make up this collection portray J. Frank Dobie’s interests in and contributions to the Texas Folklore Society. The predominant themes are Texas folklore and culture, cattle branding, Dobie’s time in England as a professor at Cambridge and his World War I experiences.

Significantly, there is also a file of illustrations of cattle brands which were sent back and forth between SHSU faculty members Frances McMinn and Emma Normand and, we believe, J. Frank Dobie. These illustrations were eventually used to create a quilt depicting cattle branding as art.

View a detailed finding aid of his collection at Sam Houston State University’s Archon page and see just what materials are in the collection.

J Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

Digitized materials from the J. Frank Dobie Collection, 1910-1991

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