The Family Saga
A Collection of Texas Family Legends
Folkore - Folklore
7 x 10, 384 pp.
105 b&w illus.
Pub Date: 12/05/2003
Publications of the Texas Folklore Society
Price:        $34.95


Published by University of North Texas Press

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The Family Saga

A Collection of Texas Family Legends

Edited by Francis Edward Abernethy, Jerry Bryan Lincecum and Frances Brannen Vick

The title and the idea for this book began in 1958, when Mody Boatright first published his essay, “The Family Saga as a Form of Folklore.” What Mody identified was a long established form of folklore that was firmly entrenched among people everywhere.

The family saga—as Mody and this collection defines it—is made up of an accumulation of separate family legends. These are the stories of the old folks and the old times that are told among the family when they gather for funerals or Thanksgiving dinner. These are the “remember-when” stories the family tells about the time when the grownups were children.

Families with strong identities and strong bonds eventually have a library of legends, treasures passed along in the oral tradition. Because of shared humanity and common family experiences, the legends of these old families follow a recognizable pattern of topics, some of which are contained herein. A large and chronologically extended collection of family legends brought together under one cover—or one roof—is a family saga.

Included here are stories grouped by common topics, such as Ghosts and the Supernatural, Feuding and Fighting, and Death and Burial. They include tales from favorite storytellers Elmer Kelton, James Ward Lee, Robert Flynn, Archie McDonald, and John Graves. Lavishly illustrated, this volume is a fitting tribute to F. E. Abernethy's dedication to the Texas Folklore Society.

FRANCIS EDWARD ABERNETHY was Regents Professor Emeritus of English at Stephen F. Austin State University, the executive secretary and editor of the Texas Folklore Society, the curator of exhibits for the East Texas Historical Association, and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. In addition to editing twenty-one Texas Folklore Society publications, he wrote Singin' Texas, Legends of Texas’ Heroic Age, and all three volumes of the Texas Folklore Society history, published by the University of North Texas Press.

Jerry Bryan Lincecum is Shoap Professor of English at Austin College and the author of Gideon Lincecum’s Sword, published by UNT Press.

Frances B. Vick is a longtime member of the Texas Folklore Society. She is the former director of the University of North Texas Press, and president of the Texas State Historical Association.


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