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Guide to Life and Literature
of the Southwest


25
Mining and Oil

DURING the twentieth century oil has brought so much money to the Southwest that the proceeds from cattle have come to look like tips. This statement is not based on statistics, though statistics no doubt exist -- even on the cost of catching sun perch. Geological, legal, and economic writings on oil are mountainous in quantity, but the human drama of oil yet remains, for the most part, to be written. It is odd to find such a modern book as Erna Fergusson's Our Southwest not mentioning oil. It is odd that no book of national reputation comes off the presses about any aspect of oil. The nearest to national notice on oil is the daily report of transactions on the New York Stock Exchange. Oil companies subsidize histories of themselves, endow universities with money to train technicians they want, control state legislatures and senates, and dictate to Congress what they want for themselves in income tax laws; but so far they have not been able to hire anybody to write a book about oil that anybody but the hirers themselves wants to read. Probably they don't read them. The first thing an oilman does after amassing a few millions is buy a ranch on which he can get away from oil -- and on which he can spend some of his oil money.

People live a good deal by tradition and fight a good deal by tradition also, voting more by prejudice. When one considers the stream of cow country books and the romance of mining living on in legends of lost mines and, then, the desert of oil books, one realizes that it takes something more than money to make the mare of romance run. Geology and economics are beyond the aim of this Guide, but if oil money keeps on buying up ranch land, the history of modern ranching will be resolved into the biographies of a comparatively few oilmen.

BOATRIGHT, MODY C.

Gib Morgan: Minstrel of the Oil Fields. Texas Folklore Society, Austin, 1945. Folk tales about Gib rather than minstrelsy. OP.

BOONE, LALIA PHIPPS

The Petroleum Dictionary, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1952. "More than 6,000 entries: definitions of technical terms and everyday expressions, a comprehensive guide to the language of the oil industry."

CAUGHEY, JOHN WALTON

Gold Is the Cornerstone (1948). Adequate treatment of the discovery of California gold and of the miners. Rushing for Gold (1949). Twelve essays by twelve writers, with emphasis on travel to California. Both books published by University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.

CENDRARS, BLAISE

Sutter's Gold, London, 1926. OP.

CLARK, JAMES A., and HALBOUTY, MICHEL T.

Spindletop, Random House, New York, 1952. On January 10, 1901, the Spindletop gusher, near Beaumont, Texas, roared in the oil age. This book, while it presumes to record what Pat Higgins was thinking as he sat in front of a country store, seems to be "the true story." The bare facts in it make drama.

DE QUILLE, DAN

(pseudonym for William Wright) . The Big Bonanza, Hartford, 1876. Reprinted, 1947. OP.

DOBIE, J. FRANK

Coronado's Children, Dallas, 1930; reprinted by Grosset and Dunlap, New York. Legendary tales of lost mines and buried treasures of the Southwest. Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver, Little, Brown, Boston, 1939. More of the same thing.

EMRICH, DUNCAN, editor

Comstock Bonanza, Vanguard, New York, 1950. A collection of writings, garnered mostly from West Coast magazines and newspapers, bearing on mining in Nevada during the boom days of Mark Twain's

GALLY, JAMES G.

Roughing It. James G. Gally's writing is a major discovery in a minor field.

FORBES, GERALD

Flush Production: The Epic of Oil in the Gulf-Southwest, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1942.


Forty-Niner, by Blanding Sloan

GILLIS, WILLIAM R.

Goldrush Days with Mark Twain, New York, 1930. OP.

GLASSCOCK, LUCILLE

A Texas Wildcatter, Naylor, San Antonio, 1952. The wildcatter is Mrs. Glasscock's husband. She chronicles this player's main moves in the game and gives an insight into his energy-driven ambition.

HOUSE, BOYCE

Oil Boom, Caxton, Caldwell, Idaho, 1941. With Boyce House's earlier Were You in Ranger?, this book gives a contemporary picture of the gushing days of oil, money, and humanity.

LYMAN, GEORGE T.

The Saga of the Comstock Lode, 1934, and Ralston's Ring, 1937. Both published by Scribner's, New York.

MCKENNA, JAMES A.

Black Range Tales, New York, 1936. Reminiscences of prospecting life. OP.

MATHEWS, JOHN JOSEPH

Life and Death of an Oilman: The Career of E. W. Marland, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1951. Mature in style and in interpretative power, John Joseph Mathews goes into the very life of an oilman who was something else.

RISTER, C. C.

Oil! Titan of the Southwest, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1949. Facts in factual form. Plenty of oil wealth and taxes; nothing on oil government.

SHINN, CHARLES H.

Mining Camps, 1885, reprinted by Knopf, New York, 1948. Perhaps the most competent analysis extant on the behavior of the gold hunters, with emphasis on their self-government. The Story of the Mine as Illustrated by the Great Comstock Lode of Nevada, New York, 1896. OP. Shinn knew and he knew also how to combine into form.

STUART, GRANVILLE

Forty Years on the Frontier, Cleveland, 1925. Superb on California and Montana hunger for precious metals. OP.

TAIT, SAMUEL W.

Wildcatters: An Informal History of Oil-Hunting in America, Princeton University Press, 1946. OP.

TWAIN, MARK

Roughing It. The mining boom itself.




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