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A Contemporary Discussion
There is fiction in the space between The lines on your page are memories Write it down but it doesn't mean You're not just telling stories… -Tracy Chapman, American folk singer
Author's note: While researching Making Myth of Emily, the author found the environment concerning Texas history questions surprising and disheartening. The Texas history community, which should have been a place of encouragement, assistance and collaboration, in effect was something much less than that. In reality, the Texas history community I encountered was resistant (and often hostile) to new ideas and unwelcoming to diverse voices. I found an insular and exclusive place, where tight associations of "longtime friends" seem to dedicate their efforts primarily to advancing personal ambitions rather than creating a climate of inclusion and diverse thought. Institutions responsible for promoting debate and diversifying ideas and voices lack the commitment necessary to challenge the sensibilities and biases of the established elite. The indignities and insult I endured during my search for the truth behind the Yellow Rose legend is the subject of another book, but often while visiting the archives, museums and other institutions in Texas, I felt as though I had stepped back in time, an interloper into a gathering of like-minded people. I have added this chapter of email correspondence to this edition of the book for several reasons. First, because I believe it amply illustrates the level of duplicity that my requests for information garnered among the people most associated with the Yellow Rose mystery. Secondly, because the group to which the correspondents belong had indicated that they were waiting for the opportunity to attack the book publicly and I wanted the readers to have something by which they could put those attacks in context. Thirdly and most importantly, I believe this chapter is an education for anyone interested in legends and history, whether in Texas or beyond. It is a brief view of the negotiations, manipulations and intrigues that often exist behind the footnote. In this sense, this chapter offers compelling insights that are in the public interest. The email correspondence begins in the winter of 2002. A university press in Texas has demonstrated interest in publishing the book. However, because of its controversial nature, the press editor wants to hear from an "expert" on the subject before he places the book up for review. (University presses pay outside reviewers --usually academics with known track records on the book's subject- to read and comment on the viability and accuracy of a manuscript. Under this method, the reviewers become the virtual gatekeepers of new research trying to reach the public through the university publishing system.) The first email is a letter from the professor to the author after he has first read the manuscript. The conversations, mainly between a respected professor and the author, begins congenially enough, but over time deteriorates as I begin to see that while the professor characterized my research in a general way as biased, he either could not-or would not-give me valid examples of what he generally deemed my “tendentiousness.” I began to suspect that his interest in my research, and his offer to “help” were not altogether altruistic.
Because I believe the dialogue reveals a larger problem that must be addressed in Texas to ensure more diverse participation in historical research, the names of my correspondents and other identifying information have been omitted or altered. In an entirely self-serving move, I have placed key portions of the dialogue in bold type and included comments.
From: Professor To: Author Date sent: Dec. 6, 2002 Subject: Emily -- one or two? Dear Author: I was about to give up on you when your manuscript finally arrived, and now I expect that you are about to give up on me. However, even with a pile of term papers still ungraded (or perhaps BECAUSE of them), I read your entire work on Tuesday and Wednesday. Finally, as things begin to get back to normal, let me give you my first impressions, and ask a question or two. (Keep in mind that I have only read through the MS once -- I would need more time to do an in-depth critique). First, I want to commend you on your exhaustive research -- even when I've disagreed with you, I have been impressed by your resourcefulness and cleverness in making your case. Secondly, I should admit that I still do disagree with your "one Emily" thesis -- though some of the issues that you raise have indicated a need for further research, without question. Thirdly, I believe that your work still suffers from tendentiousness -- a double standard with regard to the evaluation of evidence, which ALWAYS gives the benefit of the doubt to ambiguous evidence which might prove your case, while at the same time simply declaring as erroneous, irrelevant, or fraudulent a number of documents which tend to contradict your thesis. All of which is to say that you would make a GREAT lawyer, but I'm not sure that this is the proper approach for a historian. All that said, I have to admit that you have raised the shadow of doubt in my mind -- and you would no doubt convince many of your readers that we still have no clear-cut answer to the question: "One Emily, or two?" That in itself is quite a feat. I really must catch up with my term papers and final exams before I return to my notes on your manuscript and track down a few suspicions of my own -- however, let me ask you one question first. (I apologize for not having your manuscript in front of me as a write--it is at home, while I am stuck today here at the office.) Here's the question: what is the evidence, beyond M. B. Lamar's statement that Emily de Zavala and James Morgan traveled from New York to Texas together on the Flash in late 1835? I don't recall seeing a reference in your notes to a passenger list, though it appears that J. P. Bryan was referring to one in the speech of his that you quote. Did I miss this in your notes, or has either a departing (from NY) or arriving (in Texas) passenger list survived -either in the form of a newspaper list or a government document? If so, who is and who is not included in the list? Can you enlighten me on this point? Finally, I must say that I am disappointed by your dismissal of the Morgan/West labor contract found several years ago by the lawyer. I believe that it is highly unlikely that this is a forgery -- but I will withhold final judgment until I have time to devote myself more thoroughly to the subject. In the meantime, I will await your answer about the Flash while I try to find time after final exams next week to follow up some of my further thoughts about your manuscript. Again, congratulations on making a strong case for a very unlikely thesis -- you know, I might even be persuaded to write a preface to your book if several of my specific questions and criticisms could be put to rest! (Pardon my presumptuousness.) Please let me hear from you when you can. Sincerely, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: Dec. 8, 2002 Subject: Re: Emily—One or Two? Yes, there is other evidence that Emily West de Zavala arrived with James Morgan on the Flash, most notably a bill for Emily's passage that Lorenzo de Zavala paid to Morgan after the journey. I found that bill at the Rosenberg Library in the James Morgan papers there. There is also a copy in the Lorenzo de Zavala papers at UT. I'm sure I
have a copy of it, but the vast majority of documents I have accumulated about Emily are still in Mexico. Because of the controversial nature of my thesis, I tried to obtain copies of all the documents I could, and placed them in bound, indexed catalogues. However, it was simply impossible for me to bring all my papers with me to Montana when I came for this fellowship, so I only have with me here those documents I thought were most vulnerable to questions and doubts (that is, questions about there existence). I call that catalogue "Primary Documents 1." Because Lamar's public papers clearly noted the arrival of Emily on the Flash with Morgan, I relegated the bill for her passage to a secondary catalogue. I believe that document is in "Primary Documents 2," which I did not bring with me to Montana. But it does exist and is easily found and replicated. I have six such catalogues. I'm curious about your questions relating to that journey. I would also like to know in what passages you specifically see my tendentiousness, because I am at a crossroads here and respect your observations. Despite what traditional historians might think, I am sincerely interested in ferreting out the truth behind the myth. If I am guilty of anything, it is the belief that the truth about Emily has been mired in a folkloric muck. The anomalies that have plagued this story have admittedly colored my thinking, and I have struggled with how to get at the core of this story without falling prey to some of the tendencies that (I believe) have plagued others. I would deeply appreciate when you have the time-- a detailed look at where I might be evincing tendentiousness, because I really do want the book to be about raising questions, as opposed to pretending to answer all the questions. I am also interested in your take on Adina, whose legacy has never before been fully considered, and which I believe offers enormous insights into the mystery. I know that it is in my best interest to engage your wisdom, as you are clearly one of (if not THE) most respected authority of this era in Texas history. (I've talked to several people). I know you are busy, Professor, and I am grateful for any time you have to give. Please consider me an avid student. Warmest regards, Author
From: Author To: Professor Date: Dec. 8, 2002 Subject: Forgive the obsession Professor, Please forgive the obsession here with the term "tendentious" but I think it is a valid term to which it would behoove me to be aware. As you know, I am more a journalist than a historian. At the same time, I have spent years going where no Texas historian has bothered to go before and because of this, feel that I have some cachet as a scholar of this particular history. Your comments, however, have given me pause, and I would like to discuss them with you, not only for this project, but for others down the road. Specifically, when you suggest that my approach has been more that of a lawyer than a historian, (I cringe for obvious reasons) but I also felt coming into this project that I was emulating the historians that I initially referenced in my work. That is to say, that I took my cues from Lutzweiler, Binkley, Estep, Henson and the like, and built my whole project on how they approached their projects. That is to say that I believed that approaching history from a point of view was how it was done. Your comments suggest that I was wrong in that assumption. On the face of it, your comments about giving the benefit of the doubt to those documents that support my case make sense. But I thought that if I didn't bring them up, and give them the benefit of my belief in them, that I would be failing my readers. I know you are busy and have more than your share of students already, but I hope you will see in me a person who is sincerely interested in getting it right and--as time permits- I hope you will suffer my questions. All best, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: Dec. 9, 2002 Subject: RE: Forgive the obsession Dear Author: Thanks for your messages. I am too swamped with term papers and finals just now to give you any more detailed a critique -- I'll do my best to get back to you before Xmas, but no promises -- I have a commitment to read (for a publisher) another scholar's manuscript before I can get back to yours. Nevertheless, I want to commend you again on your determination to get to the bottom of this story -- but remember that no historian should let the desired conclusion determine how any piece of evidence is treated. (Take a look if you want to see some of my methodological work, at an article I did for Journal). You're on a research adventure of your own -- what you must NOT do is to lose your credibility by using a double standard on the evidence, or by ignoring evidence that might detract from your desired conclusion.
I might suggest another article on this score -- my critique of another researcher's work. (Journal name and date.) This writer's slips of logic and fact were, I believe, a direct result of his leaning too hard towards his desired conclusion. This is the failing that every historian must carefully avoid. It's up to us to DISPROVE our own hypotheses if we can -- if WE can't do it, then our hypothesis has a chance of surviving when we throw it out to the world in the form of a publication. If you find yourself rejecting as faulty or flawed or forged every key piece of evidence that might disprove your hypothesis, you're probably too attached to it. On the other hand, I think that there is the distant possibility that you can make a case that there COULD be only one Emily. In that case, your publication might be valuable enough to publish in the hopes that it would stir others to come forth with new evidence or explanations which could either prove or disprove the hypothesis. Right now, it's too early for me to tell. I'll be back in touch in a few weeks. Good luck, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Subject: Making Myth of Emily Date sent: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 Dear Professor, I am writing to touch base with you again regarding my manuscript Making Myth of Emily. The fact of the matter is an editor for a university press is interested in presenting the work for publication, but would like to know that your concerns (he might depend on you as an outside reader) have been met. In our last correspondence, you indicated that you had some doubts about my scholarship, but you were not specific in your concerns. I am asking you again to give me some specific examples of where you find the work lacking so that I can address them. I appreciate your interest in the subject and look forward to hearing you observations. All best, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: Jan. 23, 2003 Subject: Re: Making Myth of Emily Dear Author: I apologize for my silence, but I have really been snowed in with work -- the manuscript that I reviewed over the semester break [and which I delayed reading until after my first response to you] was over 600 pages, and I've had several other deadlines to meet, including one on Monday for which I'm still scrambling. I would like to get back to you in just a week or so, but I have one very specific question that has been puzzling me, and I'd like for you to enlighten me. On page 123 of your manuscript, you quote document #515 from the Lamar Papers, including a page 9 from that document. Your quote ends with the words, "…Spilman's Island, where A GREAT MANY FAMILIES HAD CONGREGATED. THE CORREOR TOOK THEM OFF TO GALVESTON." In the printed Lamar Papers, none of the words that I've capitalized are included, and the document is labeled "incomplete"; also, when I ordered a copy of the original #515 from the Texas State Archives, the document also ended with the word "where," and page 8 of the original was the last page found -- they sent no page 9, despite my request for the entire document #515. Where, may I ask, did you find the page that eluded the editors of the Lamar Papers, and also eludes the present staff of the State Archives? I will be very interested in your answer! Sincerely, and with apologies for the long delay, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Subject: Re: Making Myth of Emily
Date sent: Jan. 23, 2003 Dear Professor, There are actually a page 9 and page 10, but for some reason they are not filed with their predecessors. But they are in the State Library and, I believe, also in the printed Lamar Papers, albeit under a different index. I have copies of the originals. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled across them, but I do remember being surprised. Try 1662, that's the number I see on page 9 of the original. I have copies of all 10 pages of the originals, and along the way forgot that the two sets were not together when I found them. I hope this helps. I appreciate your willingness to help especially because I know you are very busy. I look forward talking to you more when you get a moment. Best, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: Jan 23, 2003 Subject: Re: Making Myth of Emily -- thanks Author: Thanks, My volumes of the Lamar Papers are at home, so I will certainly check #1662 tonight. Please note, though, that your endnote number 23 cites Document #515, page 9, which at first glance does not exist. Thanks for your patience. I'll try to get back to you next week, but I won't keep you in total suspense -- I've already told you that I believe that your work in its present form is marred by a tendentious tone and the selective use of evidence. Your great strength, in addition to your prodigious research and your ingenious arguments, is that you DO CONFRONT the evidence that challenges your thesis -- you don't ignore it. The great problem, though, is that in confronting the evidence, you go overboard in dismissing or denigrating the accounts that are problematical for your thesis, while at the same time you try (when it furthers your argument) to squeeze specific and direct meanings out of evidence that is actually vague and ambiguous, at best. I guess the ultimate question for you and your publisher will be: what kind of book do I want to publish? Do I want a balanced and reasonable argument which leads to a conclusion which is PROBABLE, or do I want a highly skewed argument that leads to a conclusion which is technically POSSIBLE, but very unlikely? At present, I think you have the latter kind of book. I'll do my best to get back to you next week. Best, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Subject: Re: Making Myth of Emily -- thanks Date sent: March 3, 2003 Dear Professor, I hear that there is an event in April about the Battle of San Jacinto. I wonder if this might be a good time to share my research. I haven't heard from you about the manuscript and the publisher is getting impatient. Please let me know by the end of the week if you are prepared to assist me in this endeavor. I understand from a source that the lawyer has seen the work. I don't mind, since it is true and accurate, but I do wonder if I am in a healthy environment, if you know what I mean. Please respond ASAP so that I can take appropriate measures. Cheers, Author From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: March 4, 2003 Subject: My response to Making Myth of Emily
Hello Author: Again, apologies are in order. I really wanted to do a thorough re-reading of MAKING MYTH OF EMILY, including checking sources, of your manuscript, but there simply has not been time. I'm teaching a course which brings in 20 written assignments per week, and I'm also trying to put together a new methods course for the fall. I'm also leaving tomorrow morning for the annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association. But enough excuses --- let me just tell you, in the several numbered paragraphs which follow, where I stand on a whole list of issues related to your manuscript: 1. I continue to be impressed by the depth, thoroughness, and originality of your research. Although you do not always follow through with the scholarly apparatus which would allow your readers to follow in your tracks, you have done an amazing job in pulling together both well-known and previously unrecognized materials. 2. For instance, with regard to the Lamar Papers issue which I raised in January— Although your citation was incorrect, and the document in question was actually #1662 rather than your cited #515, you had indeed found that a single Lamar essay had been split into two separate items in the Lamar Papers at the Texas State Library. I only recently received confirmation of this from the reference archivist, who added in his letter to me, "We have made a notation in both folders for future researchers. If anyone uses either of these documents, there will now be a note referring them to the other folder." Well done! (Even if the document in question does not support your "one Emily" argument.) But be more careful in your citations. 3. That cautionary note extends to your citation of Henderson Shuffler's Informal History—on your page 20. You cite this book as having been published in 1951, and on page 21 you say that he RETURNED to the story with "The Day of San Jacinto" in 1959, but in point of fact the 1st edition of the Informal History was published not in 1951 but in 1961 -- in other words, both books were written AFTER "Bollaert's Texas"—an important point, since NO ONE ever found a published reference to the story of Emily being in the tent of Santa Anna before the Hollon book appeared in 1956. 4. On to more important stuff—I would love to have the luxury of pursuing all of the questions that your manuscript has raised, but I'm in the midst of my own publishing efforts—and very much behind schedule in them since my previously approved leave for this semester was postponed for a year. Back to your work, though: you may recall the following words, which were in my first e-mail to you after reading your manuscript: "I believe that your work still suffers from tendentiousness—a double standard with regard to the evaluation of evidence which ALWAYS gives the benefit of the doubt to ambiguous evidence which might prove your case, while at the same time simply declaring as erroneous, irrelevant, or fraudulent a number of documents which tend to contradict your thesis. All of which is to say that you would make a GREAT lawyer, but I'm not sure that this is the proper approach for a historian." I believe this even more firmly today, and that is why I was dismayed to learn from you that you intended to submit the manuscript AS IS to an academic publisher. At this point, your work may be a good brief for the prosecution, but it is NOT good history, because you have consciously twisted the meaning of every document that casts doubt on your thesis, while arguing that the documents which WOULD prove your case are probably to be found among the missing—the missing Gray papers, the missing Lamar diary, the missing Zavala diary, the missing this, the missing that. Given the fragmentary nature of the historical records of these years, you would be able to cast such aspersions on virtually ANY document or set of documents that didn't contain the information you so much want to find! But a good historian is not driven by an a priori desired conclusion—a good historian is driven by the preponderance of the existing evidence—and it is unforgivably tendentious to argue that every missing piece of the historical puzzle has been either muzzled or distorted or stolen by a vast—and I do mean VAST—conspiracy to keep silent the allegedly hidden story of Emily West de Zavala, AKA (or secretly -which was it?) the mulata Emily West. 5. With regard to the indenture document—I became aware of its existence about the same time that another researcher did—when he was writing the term paper that was the seed of his Master's Thesis. We both became acquainted with the lawyer (the first person to recognize the significance of the document) as a consequence, and I have been associated with the lawyer more recently with a symposia that he has been helping to put together for the past three years. [This may be the meeting that you mentioned in yesterday's e-mail—the speakers have been set for several months, but you would certainly be welcome as a member of the audience.] Two years ago, I had an opportunity to see the indenture document first-hand, along with the other papers with which it is held, thanks to the lawyer's courtesy. It was because of my prior knowledge of this document and my awareness of the lawyer's association with it that I asked him to read and comment on your account of the document's provenance and likely authenticity (your pp. 37-39). Suffice it to say that his account of the document's provenance is at considerable variance with your own. When you sent me your manuscript, your letter said nothing about holding it in confidence, but you instead asked me to give you my frank assessment. My sharing of the manuscript with the lawyer was part of my effort to reach this assessment. While I must withhold final judgment as to the indenture contract's authenticity, I have seen nothing that would convince me of the document's fraudulence. 6. Moreover, your rejection of the New York indenture contract is of a piece with the methodology that I found so flawed in your work as a whole upon first reading. You have a double standard when it comes to evaluating evidence. You strain to make documents that might help you to say what they do not, and you dismiss those that would contradict your thesis as being either conspiratorial or phony. This may be good legal work, but it's not good historical work.
Author’s note: the reader will be hard pressed to find allegations of vast conspiracies in Making Myth of Emily. 7. The reason that I was dismayed when you told me that you were going to submit the book soon is that this meant you were NOT planning to re-write the book with a less tendentious interpretation of the evidence. I was hoping that my initial response had given you some pause with regard to your approach to the evidence. Apparently, you have decided to stick with the present approach. That is of course your right and privilege, but that also means that I could not be publicly associated with the work, nor could I possibly formally recommend its publication to a reputable scholarly press. If you want to publish an unbalanced and hopelessly biased work, go ahead-- but I would urge you to do otherwise, just as I did in the previous case when your article was submitted to the Quarterly several years ago.
8. I have a tremendous amount of respect for your energy and dedication, and for your ingenuity in constructing a framework for your chosen story from very disparate materials. However, I wish that you would channel that energy into examining judiciously what is a genuinely fascinating mystery story rather than twisting the evidence this way and that in order to arrive at a pre-conceived conclusion. I believe that you could take the evidence you have, and present a case for a possibility—highly unlikely, but a possibility—in a way that would not alienate the people who could eventually help to solve the puzzle, those historians—professional and amateur—who take such an interest in these things. BUT, even in that case—be ready for your pet theories to be disproved, as well as proven. And do not trash or treasure the new evidence strictly on the basis of which answer it supports.
9. Finally, my own commentary—I still think that you are arguing for a contradiction: that EVERYONE (even "Old Shovel from the hills, not to mention all of the Zavala neighbors, plus W.F. Gray and M. B. Lamar and Isaac Moreland, etc., etc.) KNEW that Emily de Zavala was of part-African descent, and yet NO ONE ever mentioned it— not Zavala's friends, not his enemies—NO ONE. Not at the time, not in their memoirs, NEVER. I just don't buy it.
Author’s note: the book does not allege this.
10. If you decide to go ahead with your present plans to publish the work immediately, good luck—but I believe that you're going to be scathingly reviewed either by your readers for the press (if they send it out) or by the readers of the book itself (if it's published without the kinds of wholesale re-writing I've recommended). Believe it or not, I'm on your side—and I would hate to see the product of years of diligence turn into an object of ridicule. But that's what I predict will happen if you publish this "brief for the prosecution" as is. There are lots of mistakes strewn throughout the book, but the basic problem is not casual mistakes, but core methodology. Sincerely, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: March 4, 2003 Subject: Re: My response to Making Myth of Emily Dear Professor: Thank you for your comments regarding Making Myth of Emily. It is clear that you have taken quite a bit of time to go over some of my research and I have found many of your comments instructive. I surely do not want to submit work without carefully reviewing it to make sure that it is not "unforgivably" tendentious. For that reason I appreciate your comments. I will review the manuscript carefully with your comments in mind and undoubtedly will make changes, where appropriate. However, it must be said that to pretend that the archives have not been tampered with, and that Texas was a place that would NOT diminish a black woman's legacy if that legacy challenged racist mores, is, well, naive. Please do not take offense, but many white historians seem incapable of stepping out of their skin to look at this mystery with fresh eyes. I call it: the bawdy tent fixation. Having said that, you must know that I spoke at length with the lawyer, Dr. Margaret Swett Henson, the Philpott paper sellers, and bank officials as well as several librarians regarding the so-called indenture agreement. I took copious notes of those conversations and have reviewed them anew. The problems with the document's origins (or lack thereof) are well documented and everyone associated with it (except for the lawyer) admits it. You seem loath to dismiss the document, and that is your right, but I am confident that my assessment of the document is sustained (now I even sound like a lawyer to myself!) I also am confident that my research, challenged as it might be by the dismal state of our archives, is fundamentally sound, and, what's more, as objective as any on the subject written or planned. You will remember that I told you where to find the second half of the Lamar passage. I simply went to my volumes and looked at the copies. I have copies of everything. Maybe more journalistic than historical, but my journalism skills and practices have allowed
me to look past traditional historical roadblocks to find "previously unrecognized materials." Let's face it: NO ONE has identified and collected more of a preponderance of evidence on this subject than I have. As to bias, your support of the indenture agreement in light of its murky provenance could easily be considered to be "driven by a priori desired conclusion." It certainly seems that way to me, a journalist who is routinely accused of it by historians who have the same failings. (Some of Margaret Henson's work comes to mind.) I might have a typo here or there, but I investigate EVERY document for problems, and even more so those that seem to confirm my thesis. Believe me, I know what kind of world I live in. I really do appreciate your interest in Emily and I look forward to what I expect will be robust debate about this enduring mystery. Cheers! Author From: Author To: Professor Subject: Lawyer Date Sent: March 5, 2003 Dear Professor, I am having trouble locating the lawyer. I feel that it is incumbent upon me to revisit the issue with him, especially since he has seen my work and will probably seek to discuss it in public. I recall that he refused to clarify the provenance when I spoke to him several years ago. I would appreciate it if you could let me know how to reach him. Also, I know I did not ask you not to share my work with others, but I am asking you now. Please do not provide my manuscript to any one else. If you have made copies of the work, I would appreciate it if you would send them back to me, as a courtesy. I look forward to meeting you in person in Houston in April. Talk to you soon, Author
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: March 10, 2003 Subject: Tolbert and Lawyer Dear Professor; I have not heard from you regarding sending my manuscript copy(ies) back. I also need the lawyer's number and would appreciate it if you would let me know how to reach him. Also, I checked my first edition copy of Tolbert's An Informal History of Texas and the book shows that he copyrighted the work in 1951. If you take another quick look at my manuscript before sending it back, you will see that I did not say the book was published in 1951. It was clearly written by then, however, because as you know one cannot copyright an idea. Making Myth of Emily, for instance, is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, even though I have not yet formally published it. Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: March 11, 2003 Subject: Re: Tolbert and Lawyer Dear Author: My apologies for not replying to your recent e-mails, but I was in El Paso until late Sunday night, and found well over 100 e-mails waiting for me when I returned. You asked for contact information for the lawyer. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. With regard to copies I have made of your manuscript, there are none other than the material I sent to the lawyer for his input with regard to the Morgan/West contract, which I already mentioned to you. With regard to the copy of your work that you sent me, I would hope that you would do me the courtesy of allowing me to keep it for reference, especially if you intend to ask me any questions about it in the future.
I can tell you that with regard to the Tolbert copyright, you are simply wrong. The Library of Congress Copyright office confirms (original registration number A504811) that An Informal History Of Texas was first copyrighted on 22 May 1961. The 1951 date is a typographical error, and one which should not lead you to jump to conclusions about what Tolbert knew and when he knew it. Anyone familiar with Tolbert's mode of work and the development of the "Emily Morgan" story should have surmised that there was a problem with the 1951 date. The Library of Congress copyright search page URL is: http://www.copyright.gov/records/cohm.html. There are other errors strewn through your manuscript (for instance, in your reading of the passport application of 1837). If you want to engage in further scholarly cooperation -- after all, we are all in this search together--I would appreciate your doing ME the courtesy of allowing me to keep your MS for reference, with the present understanding that is for my own personal use, and not to be shared with others. (Though (Another historian) tells me that he has also read the work.) After all, I did YOU the courtesy, despite my expressed reluctance and the fact that I am usually paid hundreds of dollars for such services, of reading your manuscript and checking some of your sources -- work that spread over several days' time when that time was precious to me. I look forward, indeed, to seeing you in Houston. I hope that we can keep our discussions friendly as well as (as you put it) "robust." Perhaps along the way there can be more mutually beneficial sharing of information. Buena suerte, Professor
Authors note: My copy of Tolbert’s An Informal History of Texas states copyright information thusly: 1951, 1961. From: Author To: Lawyer Cc: Professor Sent: Wed, March 12, 2003 Subject: Indenture agreement Dear Lawyer, I understand from the professor that you have read my treatment of the so-called indenture agreement and that you disagree with it. It is my understanding that you have relevant information regarding this controversy and that you have provided that information to the professor. I recall that you refused to answer my questions several years ago when I first began investigating the Yellow Rose mystery. However, in the interest of accuracy and cooperation, I am asking you once again to share any and all information that you have regarding the indenture agreement. Failure to do so would suggest that you are less than committed to balance and objectivity as it relates to resolving questions about the agreement. If you would provide me with a telephone number where I can reach you, I will call to set up an interview and we can discuss how we can share evidence that can shed some light on this fascinating mystery. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, Author
From: Lawyer To: Author Cc: Professor Sent: March 12, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture agreement Dear Author, The information I gave the professor about the indenture is the same information I gave you several years ago in response to many conversations that we had at the time. I have nothing else to provide about the indenture other than the information I have already shared with you. Sincerely, Lawyer
From: Author To: Lawyer Sent: March 12, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture Agreement
Dear Lawyer, I appreciate your response. But I hear from the professor that you are disputing my account of those conversations. If this is so, please let me know exactly where you find my account in error. That way, I can be assured of quoting you correctly and presenting the evidence with all of the available information. Thank you, Author
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: March 13, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture agreement Author, I am very busy now and do not have time to discuss this with you again. However, the professor has asked me to prepare a written summary of what I know of the provenance of the contract. In the interest of having this information made available to researchers such as yourself, I have agreed to do so. This will take awhile, but when I finish it I will be happy to send a copy to both you and the professor. Sincerely, Lawyer
From: Author To: Lawyer Sent: March 14, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture agreement
Dear Lawyer, With all due respect, I am wondering why a summary is not already prepared. This has been an issue for at least 10 years. However, I will be grateful to have the summary. Can you give me an idea of when I can expect to see it? I appreciate your offer to cooperate and look forward to seeing the summary as soon as possible. Sincerely, Author From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: March 17, 2003 Subject: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Professor, I have written the lawyer and asked him to provide background information regarding the so-called indenture agreement. He continues to decline to speak to me on the record about the document, which I find quite odd. But he has promised to eventually send a summary of the document's provenance to me. I am somewhat nonplussed at this response, since one would think the document already had a summary. After all, the question of the document's provenance has been floating around out there for more than 10 years. At any rate, he did not respond to my question of when I can get an ETA for the summary, so I really cannot depend on him. Professor, you wrote me a few weeks back saying that my portrayal of the indenture agreement's provenance was in error, but you did not say how or why you found it such. Since you have been working closely with the lawyer, and the two of you have discussed my research on the subject, you are probably just as qualified to explain where and how my presentation of the document is in error. I am asking you to do this now, so that I can correct any errors that may exist. If you can give me the information I am seeking regarding the background of the so-called indenture agreement within the next 10 days, I will be glad to let you keep my manuscript. If for whatever reason you cannot or will not provide the information I am seeking, please return my manuscript at your earliest convenience. I appreciate your quick attention this matter. All best, Author From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: March 17, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Author:
When I first read your description of the provenance of the Morgan/West indenture document, I spoke to the lawyer about it. He took issue with a number of your statements and implications, leading me to the make statement that I sent to you in my last message, to wit: "It was because of my prior knowledge of this document and my awareness of the lawyer's association with it that I asked him to read and comment on your account of the document's provenance and likely authenticity (your pp. 3739). Suffice it to say that his account of the document's provenance is at considerable variance with your own. . . . While I must withhold final judgment as to the indenture contract's authenticity, I have seen nothing that would convince me of the document's fraudulence." The reason I must withhold final judgment is that the lawyer has not yet provided me with a promised complete written account of the document's provenance. He told me that he would get it to me as soon as he could prepare it, and I'm sure that he would send a copy to you at the same time that he sends a copy to me. If he doesn't, I certainly will. But the lawyer is a fairly meticulous person, and I don't expect him to produce the final product overnight. I know that you have more reason to be impatient for his account of the provenance than I, but I urge you to give him a bit more time. He told me only a week ago that he still intends to provide the full written account to me. The lawyer and I have talked over the years about the document, ever since another researcher and I first heard about it almost simultaneously from Margaret Henson (deceased) and the staff at the Rosenberg Library, I believe around 1997 or 1998. It has been some time since I saw copies of the Philpott catalog and other relevant materials, but until I read your critique, I had no reason to question the document's authenticity. Your own account (and this will sound like a broken record to you) reads as if you had your mind made up to dismiss the document from the outset. [It reminded me of another historian's efforts to dismiss a famous document when he did not like what it said.] Nevertheless, I can't make a final judgment because I don't believe that I yet have the complete story on this document from either you OR from the lawyer. I urge you not to insist on a 10-day limit. We have enough arbitrary deadlines being set in our poor world just now. Despite my long friendship with the lawyer, and my belief that the document's alleged Simeon Jocylyn connection to Emily D. West is suggestively corroborated by the 1830 Federal Census returns for New Haven, I am willing to withhold judgment with regard to the indenture due to your doubts about the document. However, I have a pretty good instinct, and a track record of discoveries and publications to prove it, for historical detective work myself, and my instincts tell me that the document is genuine. However, you can't go to the bank on instincts, and I would like to wait until I see what the lawyer produces, compare it carefully with the your argument and documentation, and try to come to my own conclusion, or at least to the point of identifying the most fruitful path to solving the disagreement over the document's likely authenticity. Therefore, I would like to avoid a "rush to judgment" on your part, as well. I will ask the lawyer a third time for his written account, and will urge him to give it to me by the time of the symposium. I know that he is very much involved in the arrangements for that event at the moment, but I will do my best to persuade him to prioritize his reply to me. I hope to be in touch again soon. Sincerely, Professor Author’s note: Again, the complete lack of examples, despite the forceful argument for the indenture agreement and against my research. Instead, I am pointedly reminded that I am speaking to an expert. From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: March 30, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Professor, I have not heard back from the lawyer, not even to the question of when I could expect to get a summary regarding the so-called indenture agreement's provenance. I am wondering if he has sent you anything at all yet. Also, I am wondering about your impressions of the documents appearing in the "second" Philpott Collection. Also -and this is very important- you say that I misread the so-called passport application of 1837. What you said is this: "There are other errors strewn through your manuscript (for instance, in your reading of the passport application of 1837)." I have reread the passport and the section I wrote several times and cannot for the life of me figure out what you are talking about. I am writing you now to ask you for more specifics related to your contention. Exactly where do you feel I have misread the document? I would appreciate your prompt reply to this question. Sincerely, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: March 31, 2003 Subject: Re: passport application error Dear Author: I know that the lawyer is working on the summary, but from what he told me I should not expect it before the April symposium. I will forward a copy to you as soon as I receive it, but the lawyer also said, I believe, that he would send one to you at the same time that he sent one to me. I think that the lawyer wants to be sure that the information in his summary is as complete and accurate as possible -- which should be of benefit to all of us. My reference to the error in the passport application was to your description of "D. Irion" as a judge, in your rather imaginative reconstruction of the motivations of Emily and Isaac Moreland in producing the document. It is not "D." Irion, but rather "Dr." Irion -- Dr. Robert A. Irion was the Secretary of State of the Republic of Texas in July 1837, the month that the letter was received and transcribed by the State Department. In other words, Irion was not a "judge," as you describe him in your manuscript. You may not find this an earth-shaking error, but it is an error nevertheless. Sincerely, Professor
Author’s note: It has now been three months of dialogue and forceful allegations that my work is “hopelessly tendentious. So far, the professor has quibbled (erroneously) about a copyright date, and complained that I mischaracterized a minor player’s resume.
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: April 8, 2003 Subject: Re: passport application error Dear Professor, Please forgive the tardiness of this email; I have been away. You are correct that I do not think my reading of the passport application is an earth-shaking error, hardly an error at all in my opinion since I use the word 'judge' in the literary sense. That is, that Irion would judge whether or not Emily would be allowed to leave Texas. I do, however, appreciate your thoroughness, and will order the article you mention. You are correct in assuming that I did not know Irion's title, but that information has negligible impact on the thrust of the story. I am still waiting anxiously for you to support your claim that I have "errors strewn through" the manuscript in a meaningful way. So far, I have been unsuccessful in getting you to discuss your concerns in a more focused manner. For instance, I have asked about Adina De Zavala, and also the "second" Philpott Collection, but have been frustrated with the lack of response. I would also like to hear from you about the irregularities surrounding Lorenzo de Zavala's diary or any of the many peculiar anomalies I explore in the book. It is my hope that the sharing of information expand beyond trifling "errors" and focus more on the substance of the work. I look forward to hearing more from you on these issues. All best, Author
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: May 18, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Professor, I still have not heard from you or the lawyer regarding the provenance report you had promised to share with me. I am in San Antonio putting together the final edits on the manuscript before I turn it into my publisher, which I must do by Wednesday. Please let me hear from you as soon as possible so that I can get that important information before turning in the book. Thank you, Author
From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: May 18, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture Agreement Dear Lawyer, I still have not heard from you or the professor regarding the provenance summary you promised to share with me. I am in San Antonio putting together the final edits on the manuscript before I turn it into my publisher, which I must do by Wednesday. Please let me hear from you as soon as possible so that I can get that important information before turning in the book. Thank you, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: May 18, 2003 Subject: Re: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Author: When I spoke to the lawyer at the symposium in Texas, he told me that he was making good progress on his research and writing on the provenance of the indenture, but that he was not yet finished with it. (I must tell you that the planning for the symposium became very hectic in the last weeks before the event, with two original speakers waylaid by illness and emergencies, and only replaced at the last minute -- successfully, thank goodness.) I returned from Texas to find a pile of student papers waiting for me, and then plunged into two weeks of nothing but term papers and final exams -- graduation was yesterday. My promise to share the lawyer's account of the indenture's provenance with you just as soon as I have it still stands -- but I haven't yet received it, nor do I expect that he's completely finished with it. He is something of a perfectionist. I regret that I could not spend more time re-reading your manuscript carefully and making notes, but I simply ran out of time this year. You may recall that I was VERY reluctant to take on the task, and yet I yielded to your pleas to read the manuscript, and did so, even when other official (and remunerated) tasks were waiting. I gave you the best advice I could with regard to your work -- I think that it may be a good prosecutorial brief, but it's bad history. That is, it puts forth obviously tendentious arguments, without taking into account what are often far more reasonable explanations of the existing evidence. It is conclusion-driven history. I had hoped that you would take my advice and re-write the work in a more balanced and professional fashion. I truly wish that I could have taken more time to do a sustained and careful analysis of your manuscript, but I am behind in my own work (I have a book deadline looming at the end of the summer), and simply no more time to spare. I wish you luck, but I'm afraid that a potentially good and interesting project is going to be compromised by your unbalanced approach to the evidence. Sincerely, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: May 18, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Professor, I have just read the article in which you were featured and found it quite troubling. You draw grand conclusions from the slightest of evidence, yet you find my heavily footnoted research tendentious. I'm afraid I must reject your broad analysis of my work, given the circumstances. I believe you are having difficulty viewing this case objectively. That you would characterize my research as tendentious given the state of your own approach, well, it's audacious. Your theory is largely based on a census entry (how conclusion-driven is that?) and a so-called indenture
agreement that you acknowledge has no legitimate provenance. The fact that the lawyer is only now researching the provenance after years of questions is "bad history" on its face. Also, the lawyer's blatant conflict of interest regarding the document should make any serious historian wary of that document, but you have fallen into the same trap that Margaret Swett Henson did, misleading the public by omission and ignoring what are clear red flags regarding that document. You may be unaware of this, but a descendant of Emily offered to pay to get the document authenticated, but the lawyer refused that generous offer. Any legitimate historian would jump at the chance to verify his position once and for all. His response underscores the dubiousness of the document. I am an experienced investigative journalist, accustomed to controversy and entrenched systems. While I do not feel that my work has been treated justly by the historians associated with this mystery, I am confident that my research will stand up to honest and open challenges. At any rate, I am still holding out faint hope that the lawyer will soon produce something of merit regarding the provenance of the document that is so important to your research. In the meantime, I would ask you to refrain from publicly discussing the so-called indenture agreement without at least acknowledging the circumstances behind it. That is only good history. Most sincerely, Author
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: May 20, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture Agreement Hi Author, Still working on it. Lawyer
From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: May 20, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture Agreement Hi, Lawyer, Do you have an ETA? Thank you, Author
From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: June 3, 2003 Subject: Re: Indenture Agreement Lawyer, How's it coming? Author From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: June 3, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Professor, I have not heard from the lawyer regarding his summary of the so-called indenture agreement, have you? Also, I have not received your response to my last email, where I raised questions of bias and conflict of interest. I am anxious to know your position on these very important issues as they relate to the so-called indenture agreement and the Yellow Rose mystery/controversy in general. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. Best, Author
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: June 3, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Dear Author: Lawyer is putting the finishing touches on the provenance -- as soon as he gets clearance from the bank to share the document with researchers, he will send copies to each of us. It should be within a week or so, he tells me. I did not respond to your last e-mail because I considered it a diatribe, not a request for answers. The magazine reporter took my HYPOTHESIS of an Emily to Moreland to Houston to Bollaert connection and turned it into an assertion. Note that I said directly that it was a "theory" of mine that Houston got the story from Moreland in 1842 -- but let's face it, Houston got the story from SOMEBODY! The reporter also put words in my mouth when she implied that I said the two women sailed to New York together -- I didn't say that, because I have no evidence that it happened. If you're going to criticize me by how a reporter quotes and misquotes me in a popular magazine, you're on a fool's errand. I'll be happy to stand corrected on what I publish, but not on how a reporter garbles a conversation. The Simeon Jocylyn census entry (was THAT in the magazine???), I've said, is suggestive, but proves nothing. It is an interesting clue to further research -- how can you criticize THAT comment? I know you believe that the indenture with the Jocylyn signature is a forgery, but I simply do not share your level of mistrust about this document. And I'll certainly continue to discuss any document I please, with whatever caveats I believe are in order -- and I am NOT persuaded by your attack on the provenance and authenticity of the indenture agreement. I also believe that your offer by an Emily descendant (Emily de Zavala, of course -- whose family connection would not be relevant to the indenture if it is legitimate!) to "authenticate" the indenture is a red herring. "Authenticate it" by what means? By whose expertise? In light of what assumptions? I hope that in good time both your book and the indenture document and its provenance are all in the public realm, where these issues can be argued in whatever venues are appropriate, with careful attention to whatever details are relevant. But hasty accusations of bad faith are what I hope that we can all avoid in the future. Sincerely, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: June 4, 2003 Subject: Re: Lawyer and Indenture Speaking of diatribes.... Look Professor, I do not want to get into a pissing match with you. I am simply trying to get answers from you and the lawyer about the so-called agreement and am having a devil of a time doing it. I reiterate that the information that you seemed to have shared with the reporter appears highly selective, which would cause even the best journalist to draw faulty conclusions. (I do intend to bring up my concerns directly with the reporter.) Perhaps you could clarify your position with a letter to the editor. If she garbled your words, then it is important that the record be corrected, don't you agree? As to the authentication: Surely you are aware that experts can determine the approximate age of a paper. This alone is valuable to your very closely held belief that the document cannot be a forgery created sometime after the era it was supposedly created and signed. Unfortunately for you, the onus of proof is not in my camp, but in the lawyer's. And he has yet to deliver anything of worth. Your comments on "hasty accusations of bad faith" are simply not sustained. On the contrary, I believe I have demonstrated incredible restraint, suffering your determinedly vague criticisms of my research with good humor, while watching as selective (and misleading) information is fed to the public by people who have not fully revealed their relationship to the controversy. Please stop trying to bully me. My requests for information are sincere and appropriate and should be met with like responses. I look forward to mutually respectful dialogue as well as the information I have been requesting for months. In the interest of clarity, I will report back to you regarding my conversations with the reporter. Most sincerely, Author
To: Author Date Sent: June 4, 2003 Subject: Are we having fun yet? Author: I think we need to call a truce for a while -- we may both be coming to the Emily question with our egos more wrapped up in our analyses than is healthy for either of us. Please remember that you asked me -- pleaded with me -- to give you my honest opinion of your work. But when I did just that, you were not at all pleased with the result. I regret that you were disappointed with my response, but I'm simply not convinced by your arguments, and I have deep reservations about your methodology and your logic - namely, your attempts to stretch potentially helpful evidence to the breaking point, while ignoring or trashing unhelpful evidence. Unhelpful, that is, in reaching a conclusion to which you seem to be very firmly attached. Much of our friction over the past few weeks has concerned the Morgan/West indenture contract and its provenance. I can only ask for your patience. I have known the lawyer for several years, and have interacted with him closely in the context of a number of historical issues and events -- I have ALWAYS found him to be a conscientious and scrupulously honest individual. I have seldom seen a person more devoted to ferreting out elusive or previously unrecognized evidence, regardless of the conclusions to which that evidence might point. I know that this opinion of mine does not answer your questions about the document in question, but I would ask you to be a bit more patient -- I know that the lawyer wants to get the full story of the document's provenance -- to the degree that it can be established -- out to you, me, and any other concerned party. You must remember, however, that the document does not belong to the lawyer, and this complication sometimes diminishes the speed with which he can discover facts, attempt to confirm them, and gather the data in full. He also has a very demanding day job! The information should be forthcoming from him in the near future, and from what you tell me, your book may be coming out in the not-too-distant future, as well. At some point in that same future, it may also be possible to submit the Morgan labor contract collection -- including the document in question -to a rigorous and public examination. So -- neither the lawyer's analysis of the provenance, nor your book, nor my response to it, is likely to be the last word on the tantalizing mystery of Emily, be she one person or two. So let's both try to enjoy this whole process a bit more -- I once wrote that being proven wrong is ALMOST as much fun as being proven right -- at least it should be if we're interested in GETTING it right more than in BEING right. Both of us, in other words, should be having fun with this stuff rather than becoming angry or impatient. I look forward to the exchanges still to come -- may the best arguments and evidence win, until better arguments and evidence come along. Sincerely, Professor
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: June 6, 2003 Subject: no, not really Professor: Please understand that I am not at all angry about your opinion of my work. Rather it has been your steadfast refusal to give any valid example at all regarding your assertions that the work is tendentious, even though I have asked countless times for specifics. You have clung to these broad characterizations without providing a simple example of what you are talking about. The time it has taken you to explain why you can't be specific could have been used to simply give me the specifics. At the same time, you pretend that I must disprove the indenture document beyond what I have extensively provided in the book, when the reality is that the task is for the lawyer to give the document some legitimacy, given the circumstances behind it. You have completely ignored the sale of the collection, (the lawyer is aware of due to) HIS CAPACITY AS A BANK ATTORNEY HOLDING THE PAPERS AS COLLATERAL IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS. Your accusations of tendentiousness are like the desert calling the ocean dry. I should also point out that you have yet again avoided the issue of why the lawyer has refused to provide the document for authentication, as well as why you continue to discuss the document as valid given the lawyer's inability to explain its provenance. This issue is not weeks old, as you suggest in your last email, but years old. I am wearying of this dance. I don't mean to sound ominous, but please explain to the lawyer that I am a journalist with obligations to the public, and that my patience has been a courtesy, not an obligation. Best, Author From: Author To: Lawyer
Date Sent: June 9, 2003 Subject: the indenture agreement report I regret that you, the professor and I have been unable to resolve the issue of the indenture agreement after years of questions about it. Please forward me the name and contact information of the bank officer in charge of this bankruptcy case so that I may direct my concerns to him directly. Please consider this a formal request that you are obligated to meet in your capacity as attorney for the bank. Sincerely, Author
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: June 9, 2003 Subject: Re: the indenture agreement report Author, I don't know what you are talking about. Except for your emails this year, I had not heard from you for about five years. I told you recently that at the professor's request I decided to go ahead and prepare a narrative of what I know about the Philpott documents and I am nearing completion of this effort, but it is not complete now and I cannot give you a definitive completion date. I also told you that I will share my report with you and anyone else who is interested when it is finished. I am sorry that I am not acting as quickly as you want me to, but I am doing this on my own time, mostly late at night, without compensation from anyone, and I don't have a lot of spare time to devote to this effort. Lawyer
From: Author To: Lawyer Cc. Professor Date Sent: June 13, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report Dear Lawyer, This is not a case of me simply failing to follow through with my inquiries to you five years ago. You left out the part whereby you refused to answer my questions when I came across the letter from Owner that stated that the collection had been sold before the so-called indenture agreement surfaced. So, of course you know what I am talking about. At any rate, I believe you have had enough time to provide me the answers I have been seeking for more than five years and I look forward to receiving the final report. However, I reiterate my request for contact information for the bank officer in charge of the bankruptcy case, as I can no longer wait on you and must reinvestigate the document myself. Please understand that I am still anxiously awaiting the report, but I look forward to getting the contact information of the bank officer ASAP. Sincerely, Author From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: June 16, 2003 Subject: Bank office contact information Dear Lawyer: This is my third request for contact information for the bank officer in charge of the collection that holds the so-called indenture agreement. I am highly Sincerely, Author concerned about your apparent unwillingness to provide this simple information.
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: June 17, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report Author, I don't know anyone at the bank who would be able to answer substantive
questions about any of the Philpott my report. I am working on it as fast as I can. Lawyer From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: June 17, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report. Lawyer, I would like to talk to them just the same.
At the very least, I believe I am the one to decide what is my best bet. Consider this my fourth request for contact information for a bank officer in charge of the Smith bankruptcy case and/or Philpott collection held as collateral there. Author
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: June 18, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report Author, My contact at the bank has informed me that the bank talking to anyone about the documents unless he or she If you would like to talk directly to the bank about need to call the legal director. Lawyer is is this not interested in a serious bidder. policy, you will
From: Author To: Lawyer Date Sent: June 19, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report Dear Lawyer, Please consider me a serious bidder regarding the so-called Philpott documents. I believe this is my sixth request for contact information for the bank officer in charge of the collection. (I'm starting to lose count.) Best, Author p.s. I would also like to talk to someone about authenticating the indenture agreement. Who would that person be?
From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: June 19, 2003 Subject: Re: Are we having fun yet? Dear Professor, I am still getting the run around from the lawyer, who is now resisting giving me the name of the bank officer in charge of the second Philpott Collection. It occurred to me that as a researcher surely you have talked directly with the official custodians of the documents and so I am now asking you for that contact information. I know you will recall that you promised to be forthcoming in return for keeping my manuscript. I am still looking for evidence of that promise and I look forward to hearing from you soon. All best, Author P.S. It would be highly irregular if I am forced to buy the record just to get simple information about it. Irregular and ironic. But that is the option the lawyer is proffering.
From: Lawyer To: Author Date Sent: June 19, 2003 Subject: Re: The indenture agreement report Author, Any questions 713-284-5525. Lawyer or bid proposals should be directed to the legal director at
From: Professor To: Author Date Sent: June 23, 2003 Subject: Legal director at the bank Dear Author: Sorry to take so long in replying, but my sister was in town to help me pack up her share of my late mother's effects for the movers, and then I spent most of my weekend with the movers. Anyway, I was in contact during that time with the lawyer, who tells me that he has sent you the phone number of legal director of the bank. I had the legal director's name, but no contact information for him except the general address above. I hope that the information supplied by the lawyer is sufficient. The lawyer has informed me that his provenance document is virtually complete, but must be approved by the bank before he can make it public. I understand that this should take no more than a few weeks, at most. I certainly hope that this is the case. Best, Professor From: Author To: Professor Date Sent: June 23, 2003 Subject: Re: Legal Director of Bank Dear Professor: I am traveling now, but will give the legal director a call as soon as I can. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing the report. Best, Author
Author’s note: Neither of my correspondents provided me with the provenance report. The legal director, for his part, informed me that I would have to put down $10,000 in earnest money to access the collection and assess the indenture agreement, even though historian associated with my correspondents were able to access the document for free. In the Spring of 2005, I learned of the sale of the so-called Philpott Collection to the University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections Library through a routine Google.com search. And learned that a provenance report was finally available for review.
To learn more about the provenance report, order Making Myth of Emily: Emily West de Zavala and the Yellow Rose of Texas Legend (ISBN: 0977346501) at: http://yellowroseoftexas.net/buy-it-now.html
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