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those letters was never published, but a much shortened version did appear in 1956, as the woeful-looking Lud Daingerfield. Joseph’s papers were ultimately sold to the DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University. Joseph’s will also directed that $1,000 go to the San Antonio Humane Society, “in memory of Sally, the most beloved dog of my whole life,” and that the “principal … be kept intact, and the interest … used for the general type of the Labrador Retriever.” Joseph left his books to the library at Austin College in Sherman, and named a cousin, a geologist in Shreveport, Louisiana, as executor of his will. That cousin is now dead, but his widow later said that, while there certainly was no $1,000 to dispose of, her husband and another cousin did box up Joseph’s books and drive them to SherMan. She thought it was very much like Donald to leave a “rich man’s will” when there was scarcely the money to bury him. Another dust jacket for Straw in the South Wind, his other bestseller, published in 1946 declares that Donald Joseph had resigned his teaching position at the University of Texas in January, 1945, in order to devote his full time to writing. The note sounded like a public alibi, meant to disguise the real reason behind his leaving the university. Joseph’s publication record provides ample evidence that he was in no position to rely solely on writing novels for a livelihood. His first book, October’s Child, appeared in 1929, and made the New York Herald Tribune bestseller list. His second book, Long Bondage, appeared in 1930, to less success. His third book, Four Blind Mice, completed the trilogy in 1932, but was disappointing both commercially and critically. Fourteen years passed before another title appeared Straw in the South Wind, in 1946. There was a ten-year gap between Straw and his last book, Lud Daingerfield, which appeared in 1956. Even if Joseph had indeed planned to live by his pen, he obviously had been unable to do so. And why had he not simply found a teaching job somewhere else, if he had become dissatisfied with U.T.? The literary record, of course, contains no answers to these questions. I wrote to the public library in Cuero, where the librarian passed my letter on to Frances Oliver, an elderly cousin of Joseph. Oliver informed me that Donald was, in her polite phrase, “let out” of his teaching position at U.T., for taking young men out to the old stagecoach inn at Round Rock. “He was what we would call a ‘gay’ today,” she said. She did not know what evidence there had been in the case, nor did she have any idea what the ages of his partners might have been, or whether they might have been students. “All I know is that Uncle Tootie kept it out of the newspapers,” she said, referring to William Thornton, a Joseph relative and Austin bureau chief for the Dallas News during those years. I eventually discovered that Joseph had been among the professional casualties of the notorious conflict between U.T. President Homer P. Rainey and the university’s Board of Regents. The fight began almost at the beginning of Rainey’s administration, and was due primarily to attempts by the Board to interfere in the day-to-day operations of the university, manifested mainly in quarrels over academic freedom \(the Board removed John Dos Passos’ novel U.S.A. from an English Department and support for sociological research, among other issues. Rainey’s firm resistance also led to formal Texas legislative hearings by the Senate Investigating Committee, in November of 1944. The hearings, and the resulting four-volume compendium of testimony, came on the heels of student and faculty rage and a protest march on the Capitol. The recorded testimony also reveals another side of the dispute. In addition to its other problems with Rainey, the Board of Regents was out to get communists and homosexuals; Rainey was accused of harboring and protecting both. Regent Orville Bullington led the attack on suspected homosexuals at the university, and his hours of recorded testimony before the Senate would make comic reading if their consequences hadn’t been so tragic. Bullington, a rancher, lawyer, and oilman, warned the Committee about a “nest of homosexuals in the University of Texas.” “I’ll tell you the facts about it,” Bullington testified. “Dr. Rainey discovered there was a nest of homosexuals in the University of Texas as early as September, 1943, and he did not disclose it, notwithstanding the fact our rules require a prompt disclosure of anything affecting the competency of a teacher. He did not disclose it to any Member of the Board until May, 1944 eight months later,” he said. Donald Joseph’s personality his gentleness, fastidiousness, courtesy, language, and gestures or simply his lack of a spouse, apparently made him “suspect” during a period which presaged the fullblown national spasm of nationalism, moral rectitude, and red-baiting under Senator Joe McCarthy. Rainey and, later, the Board itself, requested the Texas Department of Public Safety put a number of university professors, including Joseph, under surveillance. D.P.S. reports, along with “evaluations” of the likely guilt of investigated professors, were presented to the Board. But despite the scent of blood in Bullington’s nostrils, the whole issue might well have muddled along inconclusively had it not been for the coincidental arrest about that same time of a hapless young English professor one previously unknown to the Board’s investigators who had been caught by a student “posse.” Bullington laid it out for the Investigating Committee in his own inimitable style: “A senior in the University who had formerly been connected with The Texan … told me about a teacher in English in the University making a proposition to a young undergraduate … to have … relations with him, and then said the youngster came to him much disturbed, didn’t know what to do, said he was afraid he would lose his grades … if he didn’t comply … and came to this senior for advice. “The senior told him,” according to Bullington’s testimony, “to go back and make a date and … ‘I’ll get up a posse and we’ll catch him tonight.” The fiat-boy vigilantes, Bullington told the Senate, did in fact ambush the professor, who was cashiered and apparently indicted in Travis County. Thereupon the Board pressed Rainey to produce two additional prime “suspects,” one of whom was Donald Joseph, for further interrogation. It is virtually certain that Bullington was referring to Joseph when he said, “… one … bitterly denied it, and we offered him the job of either resigning voluntarily or we would issue APRIL 10, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23