THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 August 10, 1955 Jim Hart on Frank Dobie \(James P. Hart made a speech recently in honor of J. Frank Dobie. The Observer published an article on Southwestern writers recently which referred briefly to Dobie as “an historian.” T h e s e two things considered, we thought it in order to publish Hart’s remarks this week for an insight `Isere is a lot being said and written t,day about Texas ,end Texans, but the speaker or the writer and each of his hearers or readers may have a quite different idea of what it takes to make a Texan. There is, I suppose, at least a lingering remnant of the concept of a Texan as depicted by Zane Grey and the writers in the pulp magazines of 30 or 40 years ago, of a lean and laconic individual, slow in speech but quick on the draw, whose intellectual interests are limited to the immediate necessities of winning a living from a not too friendly environment. More recently a very different kind of person has been popularized as typically Texan. He is the big-rich type, well-fed and loud-mouthed, with more oil and gas wells than he can count, and with a consuming ambition to use his wealth, not only to control the political and economic machinery of his own state, but to throw his weight around generally and if possible to control at least one segment of the politics and economy of the entire if not of the whole world. Each of these pictures is based in part on fact; each is in part pure fiction; and neither in my opinion gives the true flavor of the real Texan that has nowhere been better expressed than in the writings of Frank Dobie. I said “in my opinion,” because I think that particularly for a person, such as I, who was born and grew up in Texas, and who is proud of being a Texan, his views of what qualities are typically Texan are actually his ideals of what a man ought to be. Those ideals relate not merely to what a man ought to be and what he ought to do in Texas, but what he ought to be and do anywhere in the world. This may be paradoxical, but I think it is true that a pride in what is best that is Texan leads not to provincialism but to an endeavor to cultivate and encourage qualities that will be respected and admired anywhere in the world. This, I think, is shown by Frank Dobie and his work. In the main, Frank Dobie writes about Texas and the area that outlies us, in a geographical sense. But his works are read and enjoyed and admired all over the world, because they have a universal quality that appeals to New Yorkers and Englishmen as well as Texans. His stories may not always be the kind that can be decumented or verified by official reocrds, but they are recognized as being honest and conscientious, even though sometimes eloquent and always entertaining, efforts to portray life and people as they actually were and are. And, of course, Frank Dobie’s works are an expression of his own qualities. All sorts of people like Frank D obi e. Professor Wellbourne, the master of Emmanuel College in Cambridge spoke to me of Frank’s teaching there in the most respectful and admiring terms. And I could tell that Frank Dobie had really won the heart of Mr. Jack Barrett, the proprietor of Cambridge’s leading pub, who recounted to me almost rapturously the boating trips that he and Frank Dobie had taken together on the placid waters of the Cam. But I think that the outstanding example of the way Frank Dobie can and does say exactly what he means and have people admire and respect him for it, occurred here in Texas, when he accepted a literary prize donated by one of Texas’s leading prohibitionists and in doing so told how he was going to spend the prize money in buying the highest quality whiskey and invite his friends to gather round his fireplace and enjoy it with him. Frank Dobie has found many interesting things to write about, and I am sure that the finished product that he turns out is the result of extensive search and research and of plain hard work in writing and revising and correcting his manusrcipt so that it says as nearly what he wants to say as possible. Of course Frank Dobie has the flair for being entertaining that a person has to be born with. But to me the qualities that stand out inhis work are the same as those which are most striking in the manhis work is the product of a man who looks you straight in the eye, with love in his heart, but with the courage to tell you the truth as he sees it, whether you like it or not. 11 JIM HART His Manner Is a Simplicity More Taxes, ‘A Modern State’ Are Urged affected does a more efficient and ^ b.etter job than from a distance.” But he is hard on Texas jingoists who belabor the Federal Government. “There are some areas where the Federal Government has to act. Texans are American citizens and their ultimate allegiance is to the United States of America. We ought not lose sight of that. In spite of the fact that I’m a native Texan and proud of Texas history, it’s just plain silly to look on the Federal Government as our enemywe ought to work with them.” ‘A Tone of Integrity’ One of the main themes of his campaign would be the need in State Government for “a tone of integrity.” “I think there’s been an unfortunate feeling of cynicism toward State Government that has arisen in the minds of many people due to the unfortunate scandals that have come out, and by all means a general feeling of integrity is a paramount consideration.” His idea about the dubious political practices that have barnacled the State Capitol is that the State should remove the financial disabilities it places on its officials. “I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong in accepting air OMembers of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers won from eleven-anda-half cent to seventeen-and-ahalf cent hourly wage increases and ended a month-long strike against the Phelps Dodge copper refinery in El Paso. OThe deputy minister of agricul ture for Russia. Vladimir Matskevich, was guest of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Texas A&M College, no less, on a livestock inspection trip to Fort Worth. He cancelled out plans to visit Houston, Corpus, and the King Ranch because of plane mixups. A Fort Worth pastor, Walter Parr, general secretary of the Church Rural Overseas Operation Association, and Jack Sloan of Texas A&M led a group who pre plane rides any more than automobile rides. On the other hand, the State should furnish the necessary transportation so that officials would not have to depend on their private friends to meet necessary engagements. The State ought to see to it that officials are not put in a position of having to accept help from friends.” The same goes for legislators, he says. “One way that would help greatly to be sure that legislators decide matters purely on their merits would be to change the Constitution to give them adequate salaries and to see that their salaries continue as long as they have to stay in session, and that they have adequate expense accounts.” He doesn’t see “any proper objection” to registration of lobbyists but doubts if it would change the situation materially. He would not favor rigid prohibitions against legislators testifying before state agencies and accepting retainer fees. “Again you’ve got to depend on the personal integrity of the legislators and the people they appear before.” As president of the Texas Fine Arts Association last year, Hart had some opportunity to work first hand with creative people in Texas. He believes Texas has promise that will emerge as Texas becomes “a more matured and settled commun sented $300,000 worth of cattle and farm tools to South Koreans as a gesture of friendship from Texas. Houses that will be hurricane proof, and, for that matter, atom bomb proof are planned for construction on Padre Island in a few weeks. The houses are to be of the type which withstood three atom blasts in Nevada. OA major overhaul in the legal structure a n d admissions regulations of the State Hospital System has been proposed by the Texas Research League in its fourteenth and final report on a twoyear study of the system’s 23 institutions. The privately financed league recommended, primarily, that the Legislature act to define the State’s responsibility to the mentally ill, mentally retarded, infirm aged, and tubercular patients. ity.” He cites the growth of art, music, symphony orchestras in the cities and towns, museums in Dallas and Houston. He thinks Texas has never quite recovered from the Civil War and Reconstruction. The loss of the war, Military and then carpetbag rule put us on the defensive, made us feel we had to justify ourselves before the nation, he says. “Texas has also been in a position of having been to a considerable extent exploited by capital from other parts of the country, and we are just now reaching the point where we have enough capital in the state ourselves.” ‘Live and Let Live’ The trend to industrialization in Texas will revolutionize the life of Texas people, he believes. With the attractions of city life increasing, “it will become more and more important that we have public parks and state areas where people can go to get away from the cities and enjoy themselves.” A live-and-letlive attitude, more tolerance and understanding from all groups and classes \oward each other, is vital, he believes. “Our interests are ultimately the same,” he says, “and we should keep that in mind and try not to think of other groups as enemies.” He thinks the State Government can promote understanding and harmony between labor and management. “The State Government should create an atmosphere in which people in all classes dealing with the State should feel they will get a fair and considerate hearing and objective treatment, feeling that the State Government would not be discriminatory against or punish them so long as the public is not injured and the peace is kept.” “Both management and labor should accept responsibility and be prepared to live with reasonable and fair regulation that would be embodied in acts of the Legislature. Unfortunately there have been in past years in political campaigns some efforts to stir up feelings against unions or against big corporations that generally went beyond what was justified by the actual facts. The result has been lingering feelings of distrust and suspicion.” Texas will not realize its potential industrialization sunless the available water supply is better utilized, he says. “It’s perfectly obvious that water is our principal limiting factor as far as industrial growth is concerned. We need to see that as little is wasted as possible, and that it is fairly distributed among various users.” He feels that except for interstate streams, a water program “ought to be a Texas concern.” Favors Desegregation Compliance His position on segregation is for compliance with the law. “I felt that when the Court handed down its decision, it was probably a mistake to overrule decisions that had stood for years. But since it was a unanimous opinion by the Court, and there is no reasonable hope the Court will change its views, I think the thing for us to do is to comply with the decision with good will and good faith, and if we do that I see no reason why it could not work out for everybody involved.” He believes there has been a great change of attitude toward segregation over the years. “My own thought was that we should wait and let that change be reflected in legislation by a majority of the people rather than having it forced on us by a decision of the Supreme Court.” There is always a risk when the Court gets ahead of public sentiment that it will be difficult to enforce its decree, he said. “But the principal thing now is good will and good intentions and a desire to get along with other people. It can only create bad feeling and possible disorders to try to stir up opposition to compliance,” he says. “The Court has made it clear beyond any doubt, I think, that segregation in the schools is out, and while it may take a period of a year or more to make the secondary administrative adjustments, I think beyond that we ought to just go ahead and comply and that way it will work out.” Five Children The Harts live in a colonial-style house on Forrest Trail in Austin. A white picket fence surrounds the big yard. The front room-study is lined from the floor to the ceiling with books \(“They’re not for show, he’s read every one of them,” his Hart hunts dove around Austin, ducks at the coast, and deer in the hills of South Texas. He and the rest of the family maintain a vege table garden and do the yardwork. The five children range from 14 to 25. Sherman, the oldest, is -now–Mrs. Harry M. Little, Jr. Her husband is at Galveston med school, and she’s teaching kindergarten at an Episcopal Church there. Kitty, 23, is planning entertainment programs for convalescent veterans at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver. Both Sherman and Kitty graduated from Wellesley and did graduate work at the University of Texas. James P. Hart, Jr., 21, has finished his B.A. at the University of Texas and enters the service in September. He’s mountain climbing in the Grand Tetons in Yellowstone Park this summer. Richard D. Hart, 18, has graduated from Austin High School and enters the University this fall. Joseph H., 14, is at 0. Henry Junior High School in Austin. Hart was born Nov. 11, 1904, in Austin. He attended the University of Texas, majored in government, achieved highest honors and two reserve football letters. At Harvard Law School he won a tuition scholarship and became a member of the board of editors of the Law Review. He was Travis County district at-: torney for two years, special district judge in 1938, and an assistant attorney general in 1939-41. Governor Jester appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1947, and he was elected to a six-year term in 1948. He resigned the court in November, 1950, and became Chancellor of the University of Texas. He differed with the Regents, who were co-operating with the State Administration in reducing the university’s appropriation. And friends of Herman Brown set out to “get” him because of a seven-totwo decision he wrote when on the Supreme Court in 1950. \(The decision held for the employer, but held that an anti-picketing injunction went too far in requiring that His salary-plus-expenses was cut from $25,00 to $18,500. He resigned Jan. 1, 1954, without mentioning his reasons. If he runs for governor, he will run as the man he is, win or lose. He is fine and deep and decent, and he will always have the respect of his friends and his foes. RD Notes on the Week in Texas
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