ACU's Brown Library receives Texana collection; Al Lowman to speak

For immediate release
April 6, 1999

ABILENE - The estate of Dr. Abigail Curlee Holbrook recently donated a collection of Texana to Abilene Christian University's Brown Library which includes nearly 1,500 books, many with inscriptions by Texana authors in their handwriting.

To celebrate the gift, an exhibition of Dr. Holbrook's Texana collection featuring authors and editors such as Frank Dobie and Al Lowman is on display in a lobby case in the library. The collection will permanently reside in the Southwestern Collection in the Callie Faye Milliken Special Collections area of Brown Library.

Plus, Al Lowman, editor of an acclaimed Texas fine press limited edition book, The Bitterly Beautiful Land, will speak about Abigail Curlee Holbrook and her Texana collection April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Mabee Library Auditorium, adjacent to Brown Library on ACU's campus. The public is invited.

While Lowman's presentation, "By Their Dust Jackets Ye Shall Remember Them," commemorates the donation of Dr. Holbrook's Texana collection, it also will serve as a springboard for Brown Library officials to celebrate National Library Week.

Dr. Holbrook, a well-known historian and writer, was often referred to as "daughter of the Southwest. According to the inscriptions in her book collection, during her almost 100 years of life, she contributed greatly to the documentation and recording of Texas history.

Born in 1897, Dr. Holbrook graduated from Waxahachi High School as valedictorian in 1915. She earned her bachelor of arts degree, master's degree and doctorate degree from the University of Texas in Austin.

In 1932, Dr. Holbrook wrote a dissertation titled "A Study of Texas Slave Plantations, 1822 to 1865." Four copies are listed in the UT online catalog. Dr. Holbrook used original information obtained from the descendants of early Texas planters as well as letters, diaries, recollections, memoirs and notes to write the 367-page document.

As Dr. Abigail Curlee, she married Thomas Jefferson Holbrook who had served as a state senator from Galveston from 1921 to 1937. She is buried next to her husband in the Texas State Cemetery.

In Dr. Hobrook's collection, one of the gift volumes dated Oct. 8, 1937, is inscribed by J. Carroll McConnell. It reads: "Congratulations to Hon. T.J. Holbrook, Dean of the Senate of the State of Texas, himself a student of Texas..." The senator's papers reside at the Texas State Library, Archives Division.

The Texana collection from Dr. Holbrook's estate is reflective of her interests and academic pursuits. A large percentage of the books are first editions from prestigious Texas presses such as Hertzog, Steck, the University, Naylor, Texas State Historical Association and Encino.

Along with Dobie and Lowman, authors and editors represented in the collection include John C. Duval, Eugene C. Barker, Loula Grace Erdman, Ramon F. Adams, Walter Prescott Webb, Paul I. Wellman, E.C. Abbott, Charles M. Russell, J. Evetts Haley, Mody C. Boartright, Hough Emerson and John A. Lomax.


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at or call 915-674-2692.

Last update: April 6, 1999
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