Medium 9781574412772

Celebrating 100 Years of the Texas Folklore Society, 1909-2009

Views: 2992
Ratings: (0)

The Texas Folklore Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious organizations in the state. Its secret for longevity lies in those things that make it unique, such as its annual meeting that seems more like a social event or family reunion than a formal academic gathering. This book examines the Society's members and their substantial contributions to the field of folklore over the last century. Some articles focus on the research that was done in the past, while others offer studies that continue today. For example, L. Patrick Hughes explores historical folk music, while Meredith Abarca focuses on Mexican American folk healers and the potential direction of research on them today. Other articles are more personal reflections about why our members have been drawn to the TFS for fellowship and fun. This book does more than present a history of the Texas Folklore Society: it explains why the TFS has lasted so long, and why it will continue.

List price: $39.95

Your Price: $31.96

You Save: 20%

Remix
Remove
 

32 Chapters

Format Buy Remix

HOOKED ON TEXAS

PDF

HOOKED ON TEXAS by Clarence Jay Faulkner

[The postcards used as illustrations for this article, as well as those used for “filler pages” and division pages between chapters throughout this book, were collected by Clarence Faulkner and, as he states in his article, donated to the Texas Folklore Society for its archives. We greatly appreciate this contribution, as the postcards display a unique perspective of collectible Texana over the last century.—Untiedt]

Being a proud native Texan born in 1949 not far from the confluence of the Brazos and Bosque Rivers, (and raised in east Waco), a survivor of the devastating tornado of May 11, 1953, and a lover of Dr. Pepper and Moon Pie, I remain hooked on Texas even though I am currently far away in the Pacific Northwest.

In recent years, the hook has taken a stronger bite as I’ve embarked on a serious study of all things Texas. I scan everything for tidbits on Texas and my memberships/subscriptions include the Texas Folklore Society, Sul Ross State’s Center for Big Bend

 

BEWARE OF FOLKLORE ADDICTION

PDF

BEWARE OF FOLKLORE ADDICTION by Scott Hill Bumgardner

Texas. Texan. Mentioning either of these words engenders strong reactions regardless of where they might be heard. Throughout the world many people will recall some of our great Texas history from the era of western movies. Many a self-professed civilized urban dweller might stick his nose up in the air and comment about the uncouth rednecks that live here. Surely, some of these same people might make remarks about Texans being gun-toting cowboys. Our neighbors in Louisiana have a much better idea of who we are, but they are likely to sneer at us as a bunch of loud-mouthed braggarts.

Even here at home you can find a wide variety of reactions to a question such as, “What defines a Texan?” I believe the best answers are contained in the Texas Folklore Society’s publications.

But, beware friends—this folklore can be addictive. It may lead you down strange new paths.

Texans are an amazingly diverse group. We have our uncouth rednecks, in the worst sense of the words, as well as our good rednecked hard-working folk. Many of us are armed and ready to protect our realm. No doubt about it, many have embraced the cowboy image, but the real thing is a little harder to find. Do we brag? You bet. The stories of our diverse peoples have been derived from Vietnamese boat people, Mexican peons, healers, oilmen, and more. But for me, the addiction began with the Society’s editor, J.

 

MCDADE AND ME

PDF

MCDADE AND ME by Vicky Rose

The first time I attended a meeting of the Texas Folklore Society, it brought back vivid memories of my hometown. As I sat listening to others talk about different folklore from around the state, I remembered the coolness of Aunt Stell’s grape arbor, the sound of gravel crunching under my feet as my sisters and I walked along neglected railroad tracks, and I smelled once again the musty odor of a general store time forgot.

McDade, while I was growing up there, had a population of about

350 people. Situated in Central Texas, thirty-three miles east of

Austin, outsiders deemed McDade on the far side of the moon from modern civilization. Most of the people who lived there could be described as either “Dutchmen,” meaning those of German extraction, or “Americans,” which meant a mongrel race which could be made up of anything, but was mostly Scotch-Irish. Because of their hard work and determination, the Germans were usually wealthier than their American neighbors, owning their own land, building solid houses, and having tidier farms. However, because they were isolated and clannish, they had tended to inbreed, and it caused much more physical and mental defects among them than the healthier Americans.

 

MOTHER LODES OF MEXICAN LORE

PDF

MOTHER LODES OF MEXICAN LORE by Lucy Fischer West

I became acquainted with J. Frank Dobie, Wilson M. Hudson, and

Mody Boatright when I worked for James M. Day as a work-study student my first year at Texas Western College. It was James who taught me the tools for historical research. My introduction to the

Texas Folklore Society came as I typed and re-typed his TFS articles from the legal-size yellow pads on which he wrote them. My first job for John O. was transcribing tapes of interviews he’d done while on a trip to Mexico he and James had taken, chasing down

Pancho Villa stories. When I started attending Texas Folklore Society meetings at the long-ago age of twenty-one, a whole new world opened up. I began discovering to what extent the lore transferred to me through oral tradition had been preserved by folklorists like Jovita Gonzáles, Riley Aiken, Américo Paredes, and others who valued it as I do. In addition to the written word, there were those amazing Hoots brought to life by Hermes Nye, Martha

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MEXICAN-AMERICAN FOLKLORE ARTICLES

PDF

34

What’s the Point? Why the Folk Come in the First Place

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF MEXICAN-AMERICAN

FOLKLORE ARTICLES

By Lucy Fischer West

Round the Levee, PTFS I, 1916.

“A Mexican Border Ballad.” Ben D. Wood.

Coffee in the Gourd, PTFS II, 1923.

“Customs and Superstitions among Texas Mexicans.” Florence Johnson

Scott.

“Pedro and Pancho.” Mary A. Sutherland.

“Weather Wisdom of the Texas-Mexican Border.” J. Frank Dobie.

Legends of Texas, PTFS III, 1924.

“The Treasure Cannon of the Neches.” Roscoe Martin.

“Steinheimer’s Millions.’ L. D. Bertillion.

“The Cave of Montezuma.” J. Leeper Gay.

Happy Hunting Ground, PTFS IV, 1925.

“A Mexican Popular Ballad (With Music).” W. A. Whatley.

“Spanish Songs of New Mexico (With Music).” F. S. Curtis, Jr.

“Versos of the Texas Vaqueros (With Music).” J. Frank Dobie.

Rainbow in the Morning, PTFS V, 1926.

“A Texas Border Ballad.” Mattie Austin Hatcher.

“Reptiles of the South and Southwest in Folk-Lore.” John K. Strecker.

“Superstitions of Bexar County.” E. R. Bogusch.

Texas and Southwestern Lore, PTFS VI, 1927.

 

DOBIE’S DISCIPLES AND THE CHOCTAW FIVE

PDF

DOBIE’S DISCIPLES AND THE

CHOCTAW FIVE by Tim Tingle

Buck Wade died on Christmas Eve 2008, yesterday. So instead of enjoying a peaceful evening at home on Christmas night, I packed a suitcase and loaded my dog Duke and my best friend Doc onto a mini-van, drove a few hundred miles, and am now staying at a small motel in Hillsboro with a six o’clock wake-up call, on my way to my friend’s funeral in a small country graveyard a few miles south of McAlester, Oklahoma. Buck was the last of the Choctaw

Five, my own designation for four men and one strong woman who altered my life in ways I am only now beginning to understand. I had been wrestling with how to narrow the focus of an article on the importance of the Texas Folklore Society in my life, and this seems about as good a place to start as any.

Buck was a quiet man with a wry sense of humor, a Choctaw in his mid-seventies who never seemed to mind that his quips went unnoticed by many. He was tall by Choctaw standards, over six feet, with a growing paunch and thick eyeglasses. I met Buck seven years ago at the Choctaw Storytelling Festival in Eufala, Oklahoma, an event whose primary purpose is the recording of elders’ memories.

 

THE TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY WAS PARTOF MY LIFE, LONG BEFORE I KNEW IT

PDF

THE TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY WAS PART

OF MY LIFE, LONG BEFORE I KNEW IT by Jean Granberry Schnitz

I didn’t join the Texas Folklore Society until 1990, but I now realize some of its members were part of my life before I ever even knew about the organization. The first person I knew of from the

Texas Folklore Society was J. Frank Dobie, though I never met him in person. I remember reading some of his books when I was young, when we lived in Raymondville in the 1940s. My favorite place to read at that time was in a big mesquite tree in our yard.

There was a place high on the deep, shady side of that tree that was shaped exactly right for me to lean against while holding and reading a book. That was where I discovered J. Frank Dobie—through his writings.

J. Frank Dobie was born September 26, 1888, near Lagarto in

Live Oak County, on Ramirena Creek near where the present Lake

Corpus Christi is located. The house in which he was born sits on part of the “Dobie Ranch” property that comprised 4,162 acres of land, which was purchased in 1951 and 1952 by a group of six men, five of them from Houston, and Ralph Semmes Jackson of

 

THE FAMILY NATURE OF THE TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY

PDF

THE FAMILY NATURE OF THE TEXAS

FOLKLORE SOCIETY by Kenneth L. Untiedt

The first paper I ever presented at an academic conference was at a meeting of the Popular Culture Association. The second was at the

79th annual meeting of the Texas Folklore Society in Fort Worth in 1995. I have since given conference papers for numerous academic organizations, at the state, regional, and even national levels. I realized early on in my scholarly career that there is a difference between the Texas Folklore Society and all other similar organizations. Whole families attend the meetings. I see children of all ages attending the sessions, listening to papers, and joining in the activities such as the Hootenanny and tours of local attractions. This is an organization that promotes a family atmosphere, and that’s one of the reasons the TFS has lasted so long.

The Texas Folklore Society is a family-oriented organization. It always has been. At the very first annual meeting in 1911, not only was John A. Lomax listed as Secretary, but Mrs. John A. Lomax presented the paper “The Ballad of the Boll Weevil” in the afternoon session. For years after that, Bess Brown Lomax read her husband’s papers when he was unable to attend meetings.1 The paisano seen on our letterhead and many other TFS documents was drawn by Betty Boatright, Mody Boatright’s wife. We’ve had many such husband-and-wife teams who have been active in the

 

COLLECTING AND READING FOLKLORE

PDF

COLLECTING AND READING FOLKLORE by James Ward Lee

At the forty-first meeting of the Texas Folklore Society in Nacogdoches in 1967, John Q. Anderson, a past-president of the organization, read a paper titled “Magical Transference of Disease in

Texas Folk Medicine.” What Anderson presented was a series of remedies he had collected. At the evening banquet, William A.

Owens delivered a full-blown attack on Anderson’s paper in his

“Texas Folklore: A Challenge to the Creative Artist.” The main focus of his excoriation of Anderson’s work was that the paper was merely a compilation of remedies. Nothing more. No analysis. No attempt to make sense in some large context. No transference from collection to art. It was an uncomfortable thirty minutes, and all eyes kept turning to John Q., who was visibly shaken and angered.

As vice-president and program chairman, I was embarrassed that I had put together a program that lent itself to such vituperation. My only escape was that the banquet speaker was chosen by the local arrangements committee or the secretary-editor or some entity that could pay travel expenses. Nevertheless, I was most uncomfortable.

 

BOOKS OF THE TFS

PDF

BOOKS OF THE TFS by Len Ainsworth

Books drew me to the Texas Folklore Society. I began to read TFS books in high school without paying attention to the publisher, being drawn to them by the editor and frequent contributor, J.

Frank Dobie. A ranch-oriented small-town boy in the 1940s, books such as Pitching Horses and Panthers just suited me. The illustrations by Will James, another favorite, were icing on the cake. Reading Mustangs and Cow Horses was akin to a religious experience and the subject of much discussion with a best friend.

We had grown up with horses, and recognized Dobie, Boatright, and Ransom as the gurus (although we wouldn’t have understood the word) or founts of greater knowledge about a Texas still much alive in our thoughts. We even expanded our taste to beyond

Dobie offerings, insofar as our school library provided them.

Someone in the school must have developed a fair collection of the earlier TFS publications for them to be available at least a dozen years later. We read some of the Mexican tales (Puro Mexicano,

 

TEXAS BOOKLORE:IF IT AIN’T FOLKLORE, THEN WHAT THE HE(CK) IS IT?

PDF

TEXAS BOOKLORE:

IF IT AIN’T FOLKLORE, THEN WHAT

THE HE(CK) IS IT? by Al Lowman

Or maybe a more descriptive subtitle might have been “An Idiosyncratic Reminiscence of Book People I Have Known In and Out of the Texas Folklore Society.” On Good Friday 1967, in Nacogdoches’ Fredonia Hotel, I presented my first paper to the Society.

Its title was “Charlie Coombes and his Prairie Dog Lawyer.”

Coombes’ book had been published in 1945 as the final volume in the Society’s Range Life Series. Unfortunately, it betrayed the earmarks of having been written by a lawyer. Coombes, though reputedly a superb storyteller in the oral tradition, was no prose stylist.

The stories Charlie had left out of his book had come to me indirectly from James A. Hankerson, Sr. by way of his son, James, Jr., who was—hands down—the very finest raconteur I have ever known. Hank, as he was generally known, was in those days my colleague at the old Texas Research League in Austin. Hankerson,

Sr. had been a land lawyer at Wichita Falls, and when the oilfields in that vicinity had played out, he moved to Tyler. One of his tales had initially been told by Frank Fisher, whose storytelling skills were legendary. In his day, Fisher was well-known and widely loved in the legal profession. He was also an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in the Democratic primary of 1938, which was won by

 

HOW I CAME TO BE A PUBLISHER OF TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY PUBLICATIONS

PDF

HOW I CAME TO BE A PUBLISHER OF

TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY

PUBLICATIONS by Frances Brannen Vick

E-Heart Press, named after our father’s old family cattle brand, was founded by my brother, J. P. Brannen, and myself when our father died and we ended up with a little cash from the sale of his cattle.

We had also rediscovered his memoirs from World War I, written many years before, and decided they should be published. That was the original thought about starting E-Heart Press. It seemed the logical and right thing to do—publish our father’s memoirs with the proceeds from the sale of those cattle he loved and petted, and even named on occasion. It had been very painful for me to sell Sophia Loren, whom he had raised by hand since her mother had died at her birth. Sophia was more like a pet dog than a cow.

She knew who her parent was and followed him lovingly whenever he was around. But back to E-Heart.

I was teaching English at Baylor University at the time and got involved with students working for the Baylor student newspaper. They came to me with a scheme to buy some old typesetting equipment, which I foolishly thought we could use to typeset the World War I memoirs. I am foggy about where that typesetting equipment came from—Baylor or an ad the kids saw somewhere and knew where a sucker was that would help finance their grand schemes. The plans for publishing the memoirs got put on hold when Bill Wittliff quit publishing the Publications of the Texas Folklore Society and Ab Abernethy could not find another publisher to take his place. Thus, in my ignorance of publishing (and almost everything else I sometimes think), Roger

 

AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP: THE TEXAS FOLKLORE SOCIETY AND FOLK MUSIC

PDF

AN ENDURING RELATIONSHIP: THE TEXAS

FOLKLORE SOCIETY AND FOLK MUSIC by L. Patrick Hughes

A commitment to the preservation, analysis, and enjoyment of folk music underlay the 1909 creation of the Texas Folklore Society. As it was in the beginning, so it remains. Over its century-long existence, the Society has been a nurturing home for collectors and interpreters such as John A. Lomax, William A. Owens, Américo

Paredes, and others. Its publications are replete with both scholarly and popular examinations of cowboy songs, train songs, field hollers, border corridos, the blues, and Old World ballads that made their way to Texas. Annual meetings have consistently featured presentations on various aspects of folk music by both academicians and lay aficionados. Groups as varied as the Southwest

Texas Sacred Harp Convention, the Jubilee Choir, Four Boys from the Brakes, and the East Texas String Ensemble have performed the songs of our collective past at TFS convocations all across the

Lone Star State. Nor would any annual meeting be complete without the hootenanny that has been a TFS tradition for the last halfcentury. It has been and remains a symbiotic relationship that through all the years has enriched both the Society and folk music.

 

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND TEXAS FOLKLORE

PDF

AFRICAN AMERICANS AND TEXAS

FOLKLORE by Bruce A. Glasrud

One Sunday in early fall, 1932, in a well known and often referenced tale, a young, emerging black Texas folklorist called the office of Texas Folklore Society secretary-editor and University of

Texas English professor, J. Frank Dobie. The black folklorist received an encouraging and welcoming invitation to visit, and shortly entered and deposited a shoebox full of African-American folk stories on Dobie’s desk. As Dobie subsequently remarked, thus he discovered the writer who became the nationally acclaimed folklorist, John Mason Brewer. Dobie recognized Brewer’s talent, and edited and published his folktales. Brewer’s aptly named tales,

“Juneteenth,” reflecting liberty and freedom, were found in the

1932 publication of the Texas Folklore Society, Tone the Bell Easy.

The following year the TFS publication Spur-of-the-Cock included a collection of Brewer’s stories entitled “Old-Time Negro

Proverbs,” together with his insightful interpretations of the proverbs’ meanings.1

 

GEOCOCCYX

PDF

GEOCOCCYX by Charles Chupp

Through minimum effort on my part I became a provider for a horde of hummingbirds in the season just past. Details of how and why Poverty Sink became a smorgasbord for these tiny avian creatures—and how Chihuahuas worked their magic on me—is of scant interest to you most likely, so the trigger for having me cook off batches of red dyed sugar water will remain shrouded in mystery.

Anyways, there’s another thing I have fretted over for years, and the chaparral cock is an amazing quirk that I’ve not been able to cipher out. It’s been an investigation that has been a thorn in my side for lo these many years.

Back in 1983, the Texas Art Circles magazine printed an article of mine that you may have missed, so here’s a rerun. Should you have any information that might comfort me—I’d welcome your testimony. My old buddy, Buford, gave his deposition to me long ago, but Buford has no reason to tell me the truth.

As I applied the finishing touches to a pen and ink commission of a Geococcyx, it occurred to me that I’d never seen, in all my put-togethers, anything short of an adult of that specie.

 

PECOS BILL AND HIS PEDIGREE

PDF

PECOS BILL AND HIS PEDIGREE by Charles Clay Doyle

Upon this anniversary of the Texas Folklore Society, like other long-time members, I have been moved to wander back down the lane of memories and tellings, especially ones that relate to my alma mater, The University of Texas. I have newly examined the early volumes of the Publications of the Texas Folklore Society, the earliest of which (edited by Stith Thompson), from 1916, gives the programs for the first five official annual meetings (1911–1915) and a membership list from 1916. The names are impressive and, to me, personally noteworthy. How strange that just two or three “degrees of separation” can link a century ago with the here-and-now!

My father, who died in 1965, had been a student of J. Frank

Dobie’s; I cherish a yellowed carbon copy of a letter of recommendation that Dobie wrote for him in 1939. In 1947, when I was a small child, Roy Bedichek—Dobie’s friend and, evidently, my father’s—was a houseguest at my family’s home in Weimar, Texas

 

FUNERALS AND FOLKLORE: A SNAPSHOT FROM 1909

PDF

FUNERALS AND FOLKLORE: A SNAPSHOT

FROM 1909 by Jerry B. Lincecum

Funeral customs and burial rites have been important issues in the lives of the folk at least as far back as the Neanderthals, and thus are frequent topics in history, anthropology, and folklore. A cursory review of the titles of papers presented at annual meetings of the Texas Folklore Society over the past hundred years shows that on occasion aspects of these topics were addressed in relation to folksongs about death (“Tone the Bell Easy,” by Martha Emmons in 1932), burial traditions (“Grave Decoration” by Dorothy Jean

Michael in 1943), and West Texas funeral homes “Funeral Homes in Small West Texas Towns in the Early Part of the Century” by

Mildred Sentell in 1999). In addition, the annual volume for 2008, on the theme of “death lore,” has an insightful essay on the funeral business by A. C. Sanders.

Over the past one hundred years, the rise of modern funeral homes and the larger role played by funeral directors have led to dramatic changes in the way most Texans relate to funerals and burials.

 

HOW THE TFS HAS INFLUENCED ME AS A WRITER, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT IT HAS MEANT TO ME AS A LISTENER

PDF

HOW THE TFS HAS INFLUENCED ME AS A

WRITER, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHAT

IT HAS MEANT TO ME AS A LISTENER by Elmer Kelton

The Texas Folklore Society meetings have long been a highlight of my year, in small part because I pick up inspirations for my fiction writing, but in much larger part because I simply enjoy the people, the stories they tell, and the songs they sing.

I attended my first TFS meeting in 1976 at Arlington to deliver the banquet talk, “Three Kinds of Truth: Fact, Folklore, and Fiction.” I was struck by the broad range of subject matter and the laidback, informal manner of the presenters. The following year I went again, under the guise of being a reporter looking for a news story or two. Soon, I no longer needed excuses. I went because I wanted to, because I enjoyed the papers, and more than that, because I enjoyed the people I met. I have missed few annual meetings since.

Over the years the papers have inspired me, and they have given me story ideas and obscure details which I have used shamelessly to help bring the illusion of life to my fiction. They have given me an insight into the lives and times of people who came before me, people who never show up in the standard history books. In all the history courses I took in high school and the university, I don’t remember one that mentioned Big Foot Wallace or

 

Load more


Details

Print Book
E-Books
Chapters

Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Sku
B000000023639
Isbn
9781574412772
File size
3.26 MB
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Format name
PDF
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata