J Frank Dobie is a true Texas icon who needs no introduction by me. Recently I was fortunate enough to pick up a collection of books, ephemera, and letters about and by Dobie. The books included signed and inscribed first editions. The ephemera included the scarce and collectable Christmas Cards that he and his wife Bertha sent out every year from thier ranch, as well as numerous articles and books about Dobie. But the letters were the highlight of the collection.
There are four letters, each written from West Texas and Eastern New Mexico in Aug-Sep 1937 and each is addressed to Burbie (a nickname for Bertha?) and signed “Frank”. Dobie typed the letters on hotel letterhead and then hand-edited them . The letters tell of the research he is doing for APACHE GOLD AND YAQUI SILVER, which was published in 1939. In one of the more interesting paragraphs describes meeting Tom Lea Jr. for the first time. Dobie had known Lea’s father. Lea went on to illustrate the book and many other items written by Dobie. He was also an author in his own right and considered to be one of the great Texas illustrators. The letters will be on display in my booth at the Texas State Historical Association in San Antonio March 6-8. Stop by booth and take a look at them.