Alex Sweets Texas: The Lighter Side of Lone Star History

Paperback | January 1, 1986

byAlexaner Edwin SweetEditorVirginia Eisenhour

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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.

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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 typic...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8 × 5 × 0.5 inPublished:January 1, 1986Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292703902

ISBN - 13:9780292703902

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents AcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart One: The StateLa Salle in TexasThe Texas ClimateThe AlamoThe Texas NavyImmigrationSwedes to the SweetLand AgentsThe Old VeteranLost BoundariesThe Texas RangersPortraits at the CapitolPart Two: CitiesSan Antonio SidewalksDitches of San AntonioThe San Antonio RiverSan Antonio ElectionsAustin and San Antonio ComparedHouston as a SeaportGalvestonPeddlersBorn on the IslandThe Galveston Cotton ExchangePart Three: PeopleBoysThe Big FirecrackerA Boyhood MemoryThe Texas Carrier BoyThat Typical TexanGeneral Sheridan, Texas, and HellLawyersSweet in the MilitiaThe DentistAnother Mystery ExplainedHouston IndiansLadies' ChoicePart Four: LifeBorder TroublesEighty-five Little IndiansA Mexican RevolutionThrowing the LassoGuide PostsMail DeliveryCountry StoreBillboardsThe Stovepipe HatSpoofing Good WorksThe CircusH.M.S. PinaforeAn Oil PaintingChristmasNew Year's Day CallsPart Five: Natural ResourcesNorthersCattleThe Chaparral CockThe Texas Red AntThe TarantulaThe Horned FrogMosquitoesThe CentipedeThe Devil's HorseThe Family DogThe Awful Coal BugThe SharkTarpon and RedfishParrotsChile con CarneBibliographyIndex