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Historian Gambrell dies


On this day in 1982, Herbert P. Gambrell died. This native of Tyler, Texas, was the first managing editor of Southwest Review. In 1932 he co-wrote his first book with Lewis W. Newton, A Social and Political History of Texas. His book Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar: Troubadour and Crusader (1934) foreshadowed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas, which was published as Anson Jones: The Last President of Texas in 1948. This book, which J. Frank Dobie called "high art," made the New York Times best-seller list. Gambrell was director of historical exhibits for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936 and the Pan American Exposition the following year. He was instrumental in the founding of the Texas Institute of Letters and the museum of the Dallas Historical Society. His last book, A Pictorial History of Texas (1960), a joint venture with his wife, received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. Gambrell taught that "only an autocratic government can afford to have historically ignorant citizens; it is a luxury we cannot afford."

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