Ashbel Smith of Texas
Pioneer, Patriot, Statesman, 1805-1886
Texas History
6 x 9, 280 pp.
Pub Date: 06/01/2000
Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University
Price:        $19.95 s


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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1982 Summerfield G. Roberts Award, presented by the Sons of the Republic of Texas
1982 Kate Broocks Bates Award, presented by the Texas State Historical Association
1982 Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Award, presented by the Texas State Historical Association

Ashbel Smith of Texas

Pioneer, Patriot, Statesman, 1805-1886

By Elizabeth Silverthorne

Though three times burned in effigy for his political activities, Ashbel Smith was an admired and influential leader in nineteenth-century Texas. A doctor educated at Yale and abroad, the "father of Texas medicine" championed higher standards of medical practice and helped found the state's medical society. He worked persistently to establish free public education in Texas and in his later years led the way in founding Prairie View State Normal School, the University of Texas (which he also served as regent), and the university's medical school at Galveston.

In the first full-length biography of this important Texas statesman, Elizabeth Silverthorne portrays not only a very human and exciting personality but also the world he lived in, as seen through his eyes, and the part he played in shaping that world. Using public records, Smith's own journals, memoranda, and personal papers and the writings of his prominent contemporaries, she presents the tale of a vital, complex life "so inextricably woven into the history of Texas . . . that whenever we examine any of the burning issues of the day–finance, politics, religion, transportation, immigration, agriculture, warfare, medicine, or education–we find Ashbel Smith there, analyzing, expounding, crusading, searching for the truth to open the way to a better life" for Texans.

ELIZABETH SILVERTHORNE is a freelance writer who has spent seven years researching the life and work of Ashbel Smith. To understand his perspective and to gather materials, she has traced his footsteps from Hartford to Salisbury, North Carolina, to New Haven to London and Paris to Evergreen, his home on Galveston Bay. Silverthorne, who has taught college courses in writing and literature, now lives in Temple, Texas.

What Readers Are Saying:

" . . . should be considered the definitive account of the man." --Gulf Coast Historical Review

“A most valuable addition to books on early Texans, a beautiful and definitive study, superbly written and a must for anybody interested in Texas history." --Robert A. Nesbitt

" . . . portrays a man of many interests and accomplishments: a doctor, diplomat, traveler, scholar, writer, soldier, educator, and romantic." --Journal of the West


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