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Alex Sweet's Texas

[ Regional/Texas ]

Alex Sweet's Texas

The Lighter Side of Lone Star History

By Alexander Edwin Sweet

Edited by Virginia Eisenhour

A selection of Sweet's humorous essays about Texas.

1986

$25.00$16.75

33% website discount price

This is a print-on-demand title. Expedited shipping is not available.

Paperback

5.5 x 8.5 | 224 pp. | 0 illustrated

ISBN: 978-0-292-70390-2

Alexander Edwin Sweet (1841-1901) is Texas's own "Sifter," whose humorous columns appeared in the Galveston Daily News in the late 1870s and early 1880s. In his wickedly funny, tongue-in-cheek sketches, readers learned of an astonishing variety of frontier phenomena, some familiar, others downright odd. For example, there was the typical nineteenth-century custom of New Year's Day receptions for bachelor guests only, with refreshments consisting largely of strong drink and equally strong fruitcake. Imbibing a bit more cheer at each stop, according to Sweet, the bachelors brought the last prospective sweethearts they visited New Year's greetings as incoherent as they were heartfelt.

At times Sweet parodied the Yankee image of the typical Texan, whom he described as "half alligator, half human," eating raw buffalo and toting an arsenal of weaponry like a "perambulating gun-rack." But he also did as much as any writer to establish and enlarge upon the national image of Texas and Texans. Even the irascible red ant and the other "critters" in Sweet's column were Texas big and Texas-fabulous!

In 1881 Sweet co-founded Texas Siftings, a humor magazine that moved from Austin to New York to become one of the most popular periodicals of its kind in the United States. From Texas Siftings, from Sweet's two published books (one called by John Jenkins in Basic Texas Books the "best volume of 19th century Texas humor"), and from many never-before-collected newspaper columns, editor Virginia Eisenhour has assembled an Alex Sweet sampler that presents the very best of the timeless humorist's work. The result—Alex Sweet's Texas—clearly demonstrates why the New York Journal pronounced Sweet "second to no living writer in freshness, originality, sparkling wit, and refined humor." A century later, that wit still sparkles and is guaranteed to delight Texans present as it once did Texans past.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • Part One: The State
    • La Salle in Texas
    • The Texas Climate
    • The Alamo
    • The Texas Navy
    • Immigration
    • Swedes to the Sweet
    • Land Agents
    • The Old Veteran
    • Lost Boundaries
    • The Texas Rangers
    • Portraits at the Capitol
  • Part Two: Cities
    • San Antonio Sidewalks
    • Ditches of San Antonio
    • The San Antonio River
    • San Antonio Elections
    • Austin and San Antonio Compared
    • Houston as a Seaport
    • Galveston
    • Peddlers
    • Born on the Island
    • The Galveston Cotton Exchange
  • Part Three: People
    • Boys
    • The Big Firecracker
    • A Boyhood Memory
    • The Texas Carrier Boy
    • That Typical Texan
    • General Sheridan, Texas, and Hell
    • Lawyers
    • Sweet in the Militia
    • The Dentist
    • Another Mystery Explained
    • Houston Indians
    • Ladies' Choice
  • Part Four: Life
    • Border Troubles
    • Eighty-five Little Indians
    • A Mexican Revolution
    • Throwing the Lasso
    • Guide Posts
    • Mail Delivery
    • Country Store
    • Billboards
    • The Stovepipe Hat
    • Spoofing Good Works
    • The Circus
    • H.M.S. Pinafore
    • An Oil Painting
    • Christmas
    • New Year's Day Calls
  • Part Five: Natural Resources
    • Northers
    • Cattle
    • The Chaparral Cock
    • The Texas Red Ant
    • The Tarantula
    • The Horned Frog
    • Mosquitoes
    • The Centipede
    • The Devil's Horse
    • The Family Dog
    • The Awful Coal Bug
    • The Shark
    • Tarpon and Redfish
    • Parrots
    • Chile con Carne
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Virginia Eisenhour is the author of The Strand of Galveston and Galveston: A Different Place.

    "Alex Sweet's Texas is superb Texas reading."

    —John Henry Faulk