|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
where she was awarded her B.A. in 1896 and her M.A. in 1899. After six years of teaching in public schools, she returned to Baylor as an English Instructor. She went on with her schooling during summers at the University of Chicago, and in 1910 spent a year at Oxford. In 1916, she left Baylor to take her Ph.D. at Columbia University and she received that degree in 1917. While studying there she had taught creative-writing (short story) and she stayed on in this capacity after she received her doctorate. She remained at Columbia until her sudden death (of grippe) on November 7, 1935.
These facts don't seem to tell us much about her as a person, but they do give us a frame in which we can begin to put together some of the pieces that made up her life. To me, the central fact was that she was a Texas woman. This can be a special breed. Down the very center of Texas runs a great dividing line, a fault which is both geological and cultural. To the east of this fault, the economy was the traditional Southern one—cotton; and, naturally, the culture was close to that of the old South. To the west, the center of the economy was cattle, and thus Texas was the beginning of the West.
The Texas woman, at her best, is a blend of virtues of the Old South—graciousness, vivacity, love of life—and of the West— hardiness, strong character and endurance. Add to these the curiosity and vision of the Texas folklorist and you have a pretty good idea of what Dorothy Scarborough must have been like.
I think the Texas folklorist is a misunderstood breed, for the most part. Everyone will admit that Texas has produced some outstanding folklorists: the Lomaxes, J. Frank Dobie, Mody Boat-right, and Dorothy Scarborough. But few have recognized the essential aims of this group. Because their attitudes have not always conformed to those of folklorists elsewhere, they have met with a great deal of critical disdain. Being a Yankee folklorist and a newly adopted Texan, perhaps 1 can cast some light on this discrepancy.
The Texas folklorist does not come to folklore objectively or as a scientist. Me first was interested in lore because he was proud of his Texas heritage, and felt that his lore was one of the most interesting facets of his life. Life and lore are not just interrelated, they are practically cocleterminous, Many Texans are self-conscious lore carriers because of the wide-spread nature of this feeling. The Texas folklorist is simply the one who puts the lore into print.
The Texan still has a close identification between words and power. Talk, and especially big talk, is still common here, even though it is as often as not more sophisticated than the brags and boasts which used to abound. Hyperbolic language is part of