Publications of the Texas Folklore Society


Our newest publication


Leonidas Warren Payne, Jr. (1873-1945), counted Robert Frost among his friends and a member of the inner circle of poets who embraced him and sought his advice. He altered forever the perception of Texas when he created the Texas Folklore Society that continues to record, publish, and promote Texas history, myth, music, and customs. He rescued J. Frank Dobie and brought him home to Texas, where he produced his finest work and established a voice for Texas literature. L. W. Payne, Jr., influenced generations of American school children through his anthologies that became basic English textbooks.

Payne dedicated his life to his students at The University of Texas, those he called the other 95 percent who would go back to their towns, cities, and farms and make good citizens and rear healthy and lovely children. Robert Frost expanded on Payne’s philosophy and added that out of the 95 percent would come most of the poets, novelists, sculptors, architects, and artists our nation was destined to produce.

Drawing upon Payne’s own writing, interviews with former colleagues and students, and private letters lain undisclosed since Payne’s death, Rare Integrity reveals a portrait of a man whose great gift of creative generosity and warmth of heart enabled him to see a person as the person wished to be seen. Hansen Alexander follows Payne from his beginnings in Auburn, Alabama, where he discovered his affinity for literature, through his hazardous journey during a yellow fever epidemic to marry his sweetheart, his education, and final move to Austin, Texas. There Payne made his home, reared his family, and reached out to befriend and defend a new generation of poets to bring their work to life for students.

Alexander chronicles Professor Payne’s struggle to guide J. Frank Dobie back into The University of Texas fold without compromising Dobie or the university. Alexander lays to rest, for the first time, the quarrel that never existed between Frost and Payne, a mythical quarrel created and perpetuated by Frost biographers.

Hansen Alexander, an attorney for many years in New York City, was a history major at The University of Texas when he began researching and writing about Payne. He is the author of two books about Texas baseball legend Roger Clemens, One Brave Man and The Life and Trials of Roger Clemens.



Our past Publications

The Texas Folklore Society has a rich history in publishing the lore that has been presented and preserved by its members over the past century. We have over seventy regular volumes in our Publications of the Texas Folklore Society (PTFS) series, including a three-volume history of the organization from 1909 through 2000. The Society also has supported the publication of over two dozen single-author "Extra Books" on folklore. If you're interested in reading about the things that make us who we are, you can still obtain previous publications. To see a list of all Texas Folklore Society publications, click the following link: Complete List of all TFS Publications. To access the digitized versions of our publications, click the following link: Digitized PTFS

A Biscuit for Your Shoe; A Memoir of County Line, A Texas Freedom Colony by Beatrice Upshaw

Introduction and Photographs by Richard Orton

A Biscuit for Your Shoe; A Memoir of County Line, a Texas Freedom Colony captures the lore of a community which began as a freedom colony west of Nacogdoches in East Texas, through the eyes of Beatrice Upshaw. The book is a memoir, but it shares more than merely family memories of significant events. It tells of beliefs, home remedies, folk games, and customs, as well as the importance of religion and education to a community of likeminded people. The narrative is a rich source of colloquial language and proverbial sayings that help define a group of people and their strong sense of place.

A Boyhood Dream Realized: Half a Century of Texas Culture, One Newspaper Column at a Time

A boyhood dream realized: Half a century of texas culture by burl Pettit

A Boyhood Dream Realized: Half a Century of Texas Culture, One Newspaper Column at a Time was #27 in our series of Extra Books, published in 2019. As the title suggests, this book is a collection of columns from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal brought to us by journalism legend Burle Pettit, who worked in the newspaper industry for half a century. These columns represent decades of observations of local lore, customs, traditions, legends, beliefs, and folkways of West Texas. Although the newspaper industry has changed a great deal from the time Burle Pettit first began his career, newspapers still reflect what is most important to a group of people. They are, in a way, the heartbeat of a region, and they serve as a record of people’s livelihoods and losses, their triumphs and tragedies, and their musings and memories.

The San Saba Treasure: Legends of Silver Creek

The San Saba Treasure: Legends of Silver Creek by David C. Lewis

The 2018 publication, The San Saba Treasure: Legends of Silver Creek, tells the tale of four treasure hunters from San Marcos, Texas, who searched for a lost mine on the San Saba River filled with thousands of silver bars left by Spanish miners. TFS member and author David C. Lewis, a descendant of one of those adventurers, takes on his own quest to find the history behind the legend once popularized by J. Frank Dobie in his classic book Coronado’s Children. While Lewis warns that this book, though it does contain a map, will not lead you to silver and gold, it will lead you to a treasure trove of mystery, wonder, and dozens strange and interesting characters.

Legends and Life in Texas: Folklore from the Lone Star State

Legends and Life in Texas: Folklore from the Lone Star State, in Stories and Song

The 2017 publication, Legends and Life in Texas: Folklore from the Lone Star State, in Stories and Song (PTFS #72) is a traditional miscellany, the backbone of the PTFS series. This book features three chapters: one legendary Texans and the stories behind their lives, one on music, and one that looks back at simpler times. From female bullfighters, the first man to fly, and prisoners who entertained through music, to well-known heroes like Sam Houston and David Crockett, you don't want to miss this fun and enlightening look at Texas life and legends.

Thirty-Three Years, Thirty-Three Works

Thirty-Three Years, Thirty-Three Works

The 2016 publication is a tribute to F. E. Abernethy, who served as the TFS Secretary-Editor for thirty-three years. PTFS #71 contains one article for each year Ab served in this position. The wide range of topics he covered over the decades are a must-have for anyone who knew him, as a teacher, as a musician, as a world traveler, or as a friend of the Society.