THANK YOU FOR PUTTING A DEARDORFF camera on the cover of your twenty-fifth anniversary issue [“Our 100 Best Photos,” February 1998]. I’m the grandson of Merle Deardorff, the last to make the camera. It’s always great to see one of his masterpieces on display.
Editor’s note: L.F. Deardorff and Sons of Chicago began making eight-by-ten view cameras in 1923. Between the thirties and the mid-eighties, most Chicago-based catalogs, such as Sears and Montgomery Ward, were shot with a Deardorff. The company went out of business in 1988, but because of the camera’s fine craftsmanship, many working models can still be found in camera shops today.
OKAY, SO I’M NOT A PAPARAZZO, but your twenty-fifth anniversary issue really turned me on. And at 78 years young, that’s damn hard to do.
Richard C. Forbes
MY CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WONDERFUL twenty-fifth anniversary issue. As an avid reader of Texas Monthly for the past fifteen years, I was thrilled to see some old favorite photographs as well as ones I had missed along the way. Each is unique and carries a special message, yet as a whole they tell the recent history of Texas through the eyes of your magazine. Those who worked so diligently on this issue are to be commended. Their stellar work shines through. Thanks for taking us down memory lane.
IT WAS FASCINATING TO TRAVEL in time and to many places in Texas through an examination of representative artworks.
E. L. Hildebrand III
IF THE BLOATED “OUR 100 BEST PHOTOS” is your idea of what your readers crave in a twenty-fifth anniversary issue, you are sadly mistaken. Certainly pictures are important in a popular publication, but what really sells is a magazine that consistently has well-drafted articles. Try not to let this happen again.
Wesley C. Holcombe
St. Helena Island, South Carolina
I BELIEVE THE FEBRUARY 1998 ISSUE is the result of puredee laziness at Texas Monthly. It bugs me that y’all dredge up past work to reprint and then it gets charged to my subscription as a bona fide new issue. I wouldn’t be so ticked off about it if you had printed up a regular issue, complete with timely and interesting articles, and then included the photography retreads as a bonus, making for a superhuge special issue.
THE ENCLOSED PHOTO WILL HELP IDENTIFY Windy Drum’s “Tall Texan” in number 2 of your hundred best photos. He was “Locks” Martin, the seven-foot-seven-inch giant of a man I met in 1952. I was ten at the time. My father was the sales manager for Pangburn Candy Company’s ice-cream candies division, located in Fort Worth. Pangburn’s was making an English toffee—pecan “brittle” that Arden Farms chopped up and blended with their ice cream. Mr. Martin, as an Arden Farms ambassador, was in town for a promotional tour that Pangburn’s was part of. We met his plane at the old Amon Carter airfield, and he and I compared the relative size of our Justin boots. I remember him as a nice, gentle man who endured his “freak” status with grace and good humor. I believe that he died fairly young; he was not even fifty years of age.
I REALLY ENJOYED THE STORIES BEHIND the pictures of “Our 100 Best Photos.” But in number 19, when William Broyles says that the Houston Rockets “of course, never played at the ’Dome,” he’s wrong. They did. Over at least one season the Rockets played in the ’Dome and the Astrohall, as well as at their home court at the University of Houston. I’ll let him off the hook for connecting that reference to the “world champion Houston Rockets.”
I WAS IMPRESSED WITH OL’ FAY Ray, a dog, who has more self-respect than some humans (number 31, Fay Ray in Custom Boots, by William Wegman). I really do like the one of Ann Richards, number 52; now there is a beauty! “Sadder but Wiser” is probably an understatement. “I’m gladder and wiser now ” is probably an absolute truth.
IN REGARD TO THE COMMENT FORMER governor Ann Richards made to photographer Annie Leibovitz about Amarillo, I have one thing to say: “Who cares what Ann Richards says about Amarillo. We have Oprah.”
Lone Star Law
I FIRST MET PARNELL MCNAMARA ON HIS FAMILY’S land [“The Last Posse,” March 1998], where he taught me to handle a gun safely and to shoot to kill if necessary (awakening to a ski-masked home burglar will motivate even a kindergarten teacher to bear arms). The McNamara brothers are certainly tough Texas lawmen, but I got to know them through teaching two of their five children. They are also tender and caring family men. I am not a native Texan, but to me the McNamaras represent the enduring, bigger-than-life qualities that built this state: a devotion to honor and duty, a generosity of spirit, and self-reliance.
Carol B. Lane
I THOUGHT YOUR READERS MIGHT remember another posse assistant U.S. attorney Bill Johnston was involved in some five years ago. It resulted in four Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents’ losing their lives and, ultimately, the death of…how many children was that?
Terrence W. Kirk
THOUGH GREGORY CURTIS’ BEHIND THE LINES column “Seven Women” appeared in the October 1997 issue, with the recent controversy over the first execution of a woman in Texas since the Civil War, I’d like to respond. Mr. Curtis’ article started out strong and made the reader think, but toward the end, he sounded softhearted on the subject of executing a woman. That’s understandable; women used to be looked upon as fragile and in need of protection. But times have changed. Women are now committing crimes as brutal as those committed by men. Why should men be the only ones who have to pay the ultimate price for their crime? The criminal does not discriminate when committing the crime. Why should we discriminate when we impose the sentence?