Dorothy Sloan -- Books

AUCTION 22

 

Manuscript of Mary Maverick’s Memoirs

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384.     [MAVERICK, Mary Ann Adams]. [“Memoirs of Mary A. Maverick”]. Manuscript of her memoirs. San Antonio, March, 1881. On an indeterminate number of leaves (approximately 20), closely written in ink in the hand of her son, Samuel Maverick, Jr. 4to (approximately 24 x 19.5 cm). The leaves cannot be handled in their present condition because they are tightly rolled, crumbling, and fragmentary. Two leaves from this section have been professionally relaxed and stabilized; both are also fragmentary. The handwriting compares favorably to that of the Sam Maverick, Jr. Civil War manuscript above (see Item 129 herein).

     Mary Ann Adams Maverick (1818-1898), pioneer and diarist, married Samuel A. Maverick (see Handbook of Texas Online) in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, on August 4, 1836, and accompanied him to Texas early in 1838. Samuel had originally immigrated to Texas in March 1835 and was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence before returning to the South on family business. In Texas, Mary was destined to become the matriarch of a large, prominent, and influential Texas family. She kept diaries and journals of her family life as well as of events in Texas in the period from her arrival until Samuel’s death in 1870, including the 1840 Comanche invasion, the Council House Fight (hers is generally considered the best eye-witness account), the Woll Expedition, Samuel’s incarceration in the Perote Prison, and many other events. She describes numerous expeditions against the Native Americans, especially those led by Jack Hays in which Samuel participated. Mary also made note of social activities and of her acquaintance with many famous early Texans. As Jenkins remarks, “Her description of social life in early Texas is particularly interesting and useful, presenting everyday life of both the Anglo-Americans and the Mexicans who remained in Texas after San Jacinto.” Her ca. 1838 drawing of the Alamo is the “earliest known post-battle view of the Alamo ruins” (Susan Prendergast Schoelwer, et al., Alamo Images: Changing Perceptions of a Texas Experience (Dallas: DeGolyer Library & SMU Press, 1985), pp. 28-29).

     A great deal more might be said about the remarkable Mary Ann Maverick, but perhaps Paula Marks Mitchell best sums up this great female pioneer of Texas and the West in Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas: Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1989, p. xi).

Mary Maverick’s published Memoirs first drew me into the story of the pioneer life she shared with her husband in frontier Texas. I had found many nineteenth-century American pioneer women’s accounts to be disappointing models of Victorian rectitude; a mother who had given birth in a covered wagon in the middle of the prairie would fail even to mention the event. By contrast, Mary Maverick’s memoirs had a freshness, an immediacy of detail, a relative frankness that brought me closer to her frontier experience…. Here in all its emotional intensity was the real frontier experience of a literate, observant frontier woman.

     One of the treated leaves contains the Preface, Table of Contents, her name, and the date (pp. [5-6] in the printed Memoirs; the other contains the recounting of her four sons’ Civil War services (p. 120 in the printed Memoirs). From what can be gleaned from the readable portions of the manuscript, this text is some version of what became, first, a hectograph copy (see our Auction 21, lot 161 for one of six hectograph copies) and then her printed Memoirs (San Antonio, 1921; see following Item 375 herein). Here, however, textual differences between the manuscript and the printed version are obvious, even given the fragmentary nature of the leaves. For example, in the printed text, the Prologue ends: “Jesus said: ‘I must work the work of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.’” That sentence is absent from the present manuscript. Slight textual differences also exist in the Civil War section. Also, the present text does not exactly match the 1896 hectograph, either. Rena Maverick Green recounts the process of editing the manuscript to produce the hectograph (Samuel A. Maverick, Texan: 1803-1870. San Antonio: Privately printed, 1952, p. xiv):

My grandmother kept diaries and notes during much of her married life, certainly from 1837 to the late 1850s. These she wrote up in the form of memoirs in 1880 and 1881, adding to her previous notes a final chapter to comprise the period of the Civil War and the death of her husband in 1870. She spent several summers with us on the New England seacoast to escape the heat of San Antonio and St. Louis, and in the summer of 1896, while we occupied a cottage at East Hampton, Long Island, she and my father, George Madison Maverick, worked together over her diary: forming chapters, making connecting links and omitting some details, thus shaping it up for the family. They had six copies printed….

For the diary of Mary’s son, Samuel Maverick, Jr., see Item 129 herein. Both are in Sam, Jr.’s handwriting.

($1,000-2,000)

 

Auction 22 Abstracts

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