Texas Originals: Dorothy Scarborough


In 1925, an anonymous novel called The Wind spotlighted the West Texas town of Sweetwater. The Wind told the tragic tale of Letty Mason, a Virginian who moves to Sweetwater during the drought-stricken 1880s. By book’s end, Letty has committed murder and suicide—driven in part by the relentless West Texas wind. Reviewers praised the book for depicting the West with "cold truth." However, many Texas readers attacked The Wind—and argued that only a Yankee could have written it. The Wind's author was revealed to be Dorothy Scarborough, a native Texan. She spent several childhood years in Sweetwater, but lived most of her career in New York, yet all seven of her novels were set in Texas. By the time Lillian Gish starred in the 1928 film version of The Wind, the story included a happy ending—and Sweetwater's Chamber of Commerce invited Scarborough back for a visit. Dorothy Scarborough was also a respected folklorist. She called herself a "song catcher." She believed radio threatened the survival of folk songs, and she traveled around the Appalachian Mountains recording centuries-old ballads with a hand-powered Dictaphone. Scarborough believed these folk songs told stories about a community's values and its collective history. Novelist, folklorist, a catcher of songs, Dorothy Scarborough took inspiration from America's regional cultures and, in doing so, preserved the creative expressions of ordinary people from times past.
Link to Resource

http://www.humanitiestexas.org/programs/tx-originals/list/dorothy-scarborough Disclaimer: this does not appear to be a resource that we own or control.

Resource Type
Audio-Visual Materials
Source(s)
Humanities Texas
TEKS Expectations
Resource Topic/Period

Was this resource helpful?

Do you have a resource to share? Add new Resource »


Please help us to keep these resources up to date and organized.

Report other problem »

Support these Programs

As a nonprofit, our education programs depend on supporters like you.

Donate today

The Texas Almanac is your premier source for all things Texan since 1857.

photo of texas almanac

Released every two years, the Texas Almanac is your go-to book for maps and data on all 254 Texas counties. Get your copy today .