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, Sr., antiquarian bookseller, was born on August



, at old

Lagarto in southern Live Oak County, Texas, to William Neville and Mary E. (Mills) Dobie,

prominent South Texas ranchers. Family pioneers had


rst settled in Harris County in



Dudley’s branch moved to Live Oak County in the late


s. Dudley’s


rst cousin, J. Frank

Dobie, grew up on a nearby ranch, but their sixteen-year age di


erence inhibited the develop-

ment of close friendship until Dudley reached maturity. He received his childhood education

in the Lagarto school and graduated as valedictorian from Mathis High School in


. After a

year of unsuccessful job seeking, he entered Southwest Texas State Teachers College, and from

that time he considered San Marcos his home. He received his degree in history in May


and that fall was named principal of Westover School on the west side of San Marcos. Two

months later he married Deborah Galbreath, who became the mother of his three children. He

later looked back on the winter of




as the time he began to get serious about book

collecting. In the summer of


he embarked upon a graduate degree in history at the

University of Texas, where he returned each summer for the next four years. Walter Prescott

Webb supervised his thesis, “A History of Hays County, Texas.” In


Dudley left teaching

to become an educational advisor for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He had already begun

free-lancing newspaper and magazine articles about historic persons, places, and events for

sundry Texas publications.

He became a bookseller in


and further supplemented his uncertain income by scouting

artifacts for the Hall of State, which opened in Dallas the following year. Throughout the


s he

systematically expanded his knowledge of books and his acquaintance among book people. He

attended annual meetings of the Texas State Historical Association, the Old Trail Drivers Associ-

ation, and on occasion the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He also kept mem-

bership in the Texas Folklore Society, where his cousin J. Frank was the secretary-editor. In all of

these groups, Dobie quickly identi


ed the authors and collectors. During the winter of





helped the Texas State Historical Association organize its


rst book auction, now a traditional fea-

ture of its annual meeting. Following his debut as a bookseller, and while working for the Texas

Centennial Commission, he was also running a mail-order book business out of his home. He

would periodically load his car with books and head for San Antonio, Austin, or elsewhere, and

collar potential customers in their homes or businesses. In


he began a ten-year career at

Southwest Texas State Teachers College as a nontenured, part-time history instructor and part-

time museum director. His status was such that he was able to continue his bookselling and, in


, issue his


rst printed catalogue,

Spirited Southwest: Roundup No.







served as a San Marcos city alderman.

Dobie’s connection with the college ended in


. A year later he opened a bookstore in

Austin on the site of what is now Dobie Center, near the University of Texas campus. Not

achieving the hoped-for success, he closed his Austin store and later made an unsuccessful race

for school superintendent in Hays County. In


he opened a bookshop and gift store in San

Marcos, but again the time and place weren’t right. At this time he unexpectedly received the

opportunity to teach history and direct the Big Bend Memorial Museum (later the Museum of

the Big Bend) at Sul Ross State Teachers College in Alpine. Except for the




academic year,

Dobie remained at Sul Ross until his retirement and return to San Marcos in


. For most of

that time, however, he was a


liated with the library. From


until his death, he sold books

by mail order from his San Marcos home. He served a term as county Democratic chairman and

was for ten years a member of the county historical commission. He made notes for the mem-

oirs he always intended to write, but never did. He also regaled many a novice reporter with tales

of frontier life that he knew not only from a wealth of reading, but from personal and family