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Voice of the Mexican Border

167. [SHIPMAN, Alice Jack Dolan (editor)]. Voice of the Mexican Border. Marfa, 1933-1938.9 issues: September 1933, October 1933, November 1933, December 1933, January 1934, February/March 1934, April/May 1934, 1938 annual issue, 1936 Centennial Issue.  Numerous illustrations (mostly photographic), ads. 4to, original pictorial wrappers.  Fragile wraps worn, El Paso issue wraps defective and clipped. October 1933 issue (“Highland Cattle Issue”) with pencil presentation by noted Texas Ranger:  “Compliments of J. B. Gillett” (Gillett is featured in the issue). The 1936 Centennial edition is fairly easy to find, but the earlier issues are tough to locate in any condition and in a good run, like this group.

     First printings of a primary publication relating to the 129-mile stretch of harsh, pristine beauty of “el despoblado” along the Texas Rio Grande border with Mexico that became Big Bend National Park in 1944. This publication was put out at time when there was a movement to preserve the nation’s “last frontier.” CBC 3784. Dobie, Big Bend Bibliography. Dykes, Kid 194 (citing Shipman’s article “Brief Career of Tom O’Folliard, Billy the Kid’s Partner,” in the January 1934 issue).Tyler, Big Bend, p. 231: “One of the best sources on the history of nineteenth-century Presidio County.” As might be anticipated, editor Alice Shipman does not neglect the distaff Big Benders.

     Fred White, Sr. sold this lot to us and tucked in his informative little note: “Put out in Marfa TX by Jack Shipman. The issue called ‘Highland Cattle Issue’ and the entire articles are on some phase of the cow business in the Big Bend Area. This journal was short-lived (6-7 issues only), started as the Depression descended on the U.S. They are scholarly & well-written but few could afford to eat and no one could afford magazine subscriptions. I have handled all the different issues, but only one cattle issue.”

     Handbook of Texas Online:  Voice of the Mexican Border:  The Voice of the Mexican Border, a magazine of Big Bend history, published its first issue in September 1933 in Presidio County. The magazine was originally intended as a quarterly, but its failure to find readers and writers limited it to an annual. The magazine was sold by subscription and on newsstands. Alice Jack Dolan Shipman, a local historian and native West Texan, edited the publication. Her husband, O. L. Shipman, served as secretary-treasurer, and James H. Leaverton was assistant editor. Although advertising was sold to local and El Paso businesses, the magazine needed additional funding. Lucas C. Brite II and his brother Eddie, Presidio County ranchers and philanthropists, financed the work. A Texas Centennial edition of the Voice offered in August 1936 featured a summary of J. E. Gregg's M.A. thesis, A History of Presidio County (University of Texas, 1933). The magazine sold at the Busy Bee, a business owned by the Shipmans, for one dollar. The 1938 issue carried an article on Santa Helena Canyon by Milton Hill, as well as articles on Presidio County history. The nine issues published through 1938 are now rare and command collectors' prices.” ($250-500) 

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