He once said, “Texas is twelve million people who are bright and dumb, conservative and liberal, tall and short and slim and fat, courageous and cowardly; just like people in Connecticut and Oregon”. And, “The philosophy of the cowboy is not spoken, but tacit. It must remain what he was, not what he said”. And, “Academics everywhere are generally as rigid as rednecks, as conservative as successful farmers, and as irrational as zealots”.
Joe B. Frantz was noted for his entertaining talks, his love of anecdote, and his wit in phrase-making. He spent his life working as a college professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin and at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. He was director of the Texas State Historical Association from 1966 to 1977 and gathered the oral history of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. Along the way he taught graduate students, wrote books and articles, and gave speeches.
Joe, as he preferred to be called, received the mantle of Texas history from his mentor, Walter Prescott Webb, and progressed to become a recognized western and national historian. His era spanned the time when the University of Texas became a major doctoral school that trained research historians, and his students are now senior professors in departments across the country.
This engagingly written biography of Frantz traces his lifetime from an orphan in Dallas until his death in Houston in 1993. Written by Texas historian David G. McComb, a former student of Frantz’s, Travels with Joe is based upon Frantz’s personal papers, interviews, and writings. It narrates the story of Frantz’s triumphs and storms and captures the essence of this fascinating and influential man. Life, for Joe B. Frantz, was a grand journey, an adventure that he preferred to share with others. This book is about his journey.