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Source Material and Bibliographies

In the course of researching and editing articles on communities and physical features, the staff of the New Handbook of Texas found that many of the same sources were used in virtually every article of a given type. In order to save space, we list the works that form the "standard bibliography" for a given genre here rather than at the end of each article.

Articles on geographic features, including water features, reference the following sources: Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, Vegetation Types of Texas map; General Land Office, land grant maps; State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, general highway maps; Water for Texas: A Comprehensive Plan for the Future (Austin: Texas Department of Water Resources, 1984); C. L. Dowell and R. G. Petty, Engineering Data on Dams and Reservoirs in Texas (Texas Water Development Board Report 126 [3 pts., Austin, 1971-74]); United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, general soil maps; United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey, topographical maps and State of Texas 1:500,000 Map.

Articles on towns, counties, and railroads reference the following sources, as applicable: all relevant maps listed for geographic features; John Clements, Flying the Colors: Texas, a Comprehensive Look at Texas Today, County by County (Dallas: Clements Research, 1984); Charles Deaton, Texas Postal History Handbook (Houston, 1980; 2d ed. 1981); John J. Germann and Myron Janzen, Texas Post Offices by County (1986-); Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin; Fred I. Massengill, Texas Towns: Origin of Name and Location of Each of the 2,148 Post Offices in Texas (Terrell, Texas, 1936); S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads and of Transportation Conditions under Spain and Mexico and the Republic and the State (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1981); Fred Tarpley, 1001 Texas Place Names (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980); Texas Almanac; Texas State Gazetteer and Business Directory (Chicago: R. L. Polk, 1884, 1890, 1892, 1896, 1914); Texas State Library, Archives Division: School Superintendent Reports; Texas State Department Railroad Charters; Texas State Library, Genealogy Division: County Tax Rolls; United States Bureau of the Census: United States Census of Agriculture, United States Census of Population, United States Census of Manufacturing; United States Postal Route Maps for the State of Texas; Charles P. Zlatkovich, Texas Railroads: A Record of Construction and Abandonment (Austin: University of Texas Bureau of Business Research, 1981).

For all categories of articles, we have taken an abbreviated approach to citing some online sources. In the interest of managing the clarity of bibliographies, we have only included the link for the home webpage or the search engine webpage for some website citations. This has been done primarily for those websites with reasonably clear links to the information or for searchable websites such as genealogical databases which often require starting from the search engine webpage to locate the record.

During the course of the project, the bibliographies at the ends of articles in the New Handbook came to amount to more than 13,000 items. Ideally, each bibliography gives some guidance to sources, suggests further secondary reading, and leads the reader to primary sources. In most cases, no attempt has been made to give all the available references. The goal, rather, has been to list works through which a more complete bibliography can be reached. In many cases, however, the paucity of available materials is reflected in a lean bibliography that may in fact include all of the published sources on a given topic. The editors in general have not listed localized primary sources, even when they were used. To include, for instance, such items as deed records of a given county would have enlarged the bibliography needlessly with items not available to most readers. On the other hand, the New Handbook frequently cites primary collections of papers or manuscripts when they are accessible in archives.

Many articles lack bibliographies. Most do so because they are based only on the "standard" sources listed above for communities, physical features, and railroads. A substantial number do so because no published, extant, "bibliographable" material is available. Articles about publications often lack bibliographies because the bibliography is intrinsic to the subject; an article on a scholarly journal, for instance, may be based on nothing but the journal itself. In general, articles about institutions that publish regular reports on themselves--college catalogs, for example--do not cite those reports, though the reader may assume they were consulted. When a work is cited in the text of an article, the editors as a rule do not cite it again at the end. In biographies, works of the subjects are not listed in the bibliographies unless they are autobiographical.

Inevitably, in a large project one encounters apparently reliable but dateless and authorless sources--informational leaflets, local reports in the form of manuscripts or mimeographs, unpublished correspondence in private hands, even records in family Bibles. To list such sources in a published bibliography would constitute a purposeless waste of space. Every entry in the New Handbook, however, is represented by a file in the offices of the Texas State Historical Association, where the whole bibliographical story behind the article is available.