Tinkle, Julien Lon (1906–1980)

By: Stephen Earl Comer

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

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Lon Tinkle, author, son of James Ward and Mary (Gardenhire) Tinkle, was born on March 20, 1906, in Dallas. He graduated from Southern Methodist University, A.B., 1927, A.M., 1932 and completed post-graduate work at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, with a diplome de phonetique in 1933, and Columbia University. His career as a literary critic, writer, and teacher spanned fifty-four years, beginning in 1942 as a book editor and critic for the Dallas Morning News. In 1932 he joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University as an instructor, later becoming E. A. Lilly Professor of Literature. He is best known for his books, especially those which focused on younger readers. They are: Thirteen Days to Glory: The Siege of the Alamo (1958), reprinted as The Alamo (1960); (editor with Allen Maxwell) The Cowboy Reader (1959); The Story of Oklahoma (1962); (editor with Wynn Rickey) Treson Nobel: An Anthology of French Nobel Prize-Winners (1963); The Valiant Few; Crisis at the Alamo (1964); Miracle in Mexico: The Story of Juan Diego (1965); The Key to Dallas (1965); (author of preface) William Harvey Vann, The Texas Institute of Letters, 1936–1966 (1967); J. Frank Dobie: The Makings of an Ample Mind (1968); Mr. De: A Biography of Everette Lee DeGolyer (1970); (author of introduction) Norman Kotker, editor, Texas: A Picture Tour (1973); and An American Original: The Life of J. Frank Dobie (1978). He also wrote Les Deux Idoles, with C. F. Zeek. Tinkle was a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, the Texas Institute of Letters (serving as president 1949–52), and the Dallas Chamber of Commerce Fine Arts Committee. He was a life-long Democrat and a Christian. He received many honors in his life including a prize from the Texas Institute of Letters and a book award from the Sons of the Republic of Texas, both for Thirteen Days to Glory in 1959; Palmes Academiques of France; an honorary L.L.D. from St. Mary's University in 1963, and another prize from the Texas Institute of Letters for An American Original: The Life of J. Frank Dobie in 1979. Tinkle married Maria Ofelia Garza on December 27, 1939. They made their home in Dallas and had three sons. Lon Tinkle died in Dallas on January 11, 1980.

Something about the Author, Vol. 36. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Education
  • Educators
  • English and Journalism
  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Scholars, Editors, and Critics

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephen Earl Comer, “Tinkle, Julien Lon,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 21, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tinkle-julien-lon.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995

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