A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 25, 2007
“Texas is a blend of valor and swagger” (Carl Sandburg)

Historian/poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is sometimes given credit for saying: “Texas is a blend of valor and swagger.”

Texas author Boyce House (1896-1961) is best known for his short, best-selling Texas humor books published during World War II, providing a chuckle to Texans and non-Texans everywhere. House also wrote newspaper columns, had a radio show, and produced a book of poetry titled Texas Rhythm, and Other Poems (1950). Carl Sandburg read the book and said that House’s poems have “That peculiar blend of swagger and valor which is Texas.”

Sandburg’s quotation is usually taken out of context, with no mention given of Boyce House.


The Story of Texas - The Museum - Past Exhibits
It Ain’t Braggin’ If It’s True
April 21, 2001 - December 31, 2001
Texas history is about more than facts and figures – it is also about incredible artifacts and the amazing stories behind them. The first temporary exhibit at The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, It Ain’t Braggin’ If It’s True, paid tribute to the distinctive character of the Lone Star State by telling some of these amazing stories. Carl Sandburg once wrote that Texas is a blend of valor and swagger. This exhibit expanded on his statement by featuring six sections that served as testament to the “braggin’ rights” of Texas: Valor, Vision, Pride, Perseverance, Swagger and Showmanship. Sponsored by the Belo Foundation, It Ain’t Braggin’ If It’s True opened with the Museum in April of 2001 and continued through December 2001. 

Handbook of Texas Online
HOUSE, BOYCE B. (1896-1961). Boyce House, author, humorist, and radio personality, son of Noah E. and Margaret (O’Brien) House, was born on November 29, 1896, in Piggott, Arkansas.
(...)
His weekly column eventually appeared in 130 newspapers, and his weekly radio show brought him celebrity status in Texas and an established national reputation.

House was twice a losing candidate for lieutenant governor of Texas in the Democratic primary, and he was strong in his support of the Democratic party and the political system.
(...)
During the last years of his life he worked for the Texas Credit Association; many of his personal appearances were as a representative of that group. House was a member of the Texas Folklore Society, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Texas Editorial Association.

Wikipedia: Carl Sandburg
Carl August Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, historian, novelist, balladeer, and folklorist. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois of Swedish parents and died at his home, named Connemara, in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

H. L. Mencken called Carl Sandburg “indubitably an American in every pulse-beat.” He was a successful journalist, poet, historian, biographer, and autobiographer. 

20 March 1950, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Oil Field Ballads Included in House’s New Book of Poems,” pg. 7, col. 3:
Ballads of the West Texas oil fields are included in Boyce House’s newest book, “Texas Rhythm and Other Poems,” which has just come off the press of the Naylor Company, San Antonio.

Carl Sandburg said of the poems that they have “That peculiar blend of swagger and valor which is Texas.”

The book established the versatility of House, whose other volumes include the humorous “I Give You Texas,” “Tall Talk From Texas,” and “Texas Proud and Loud.”

In the humorous vein of the earlier book is the poem “Justice in Old Ranger,” an account of a trial in which a man was fined $75 for murder!

“Ghost Cities” describes Lecray, Jimkurn, Necessity, and Jakehamon, which flourished briefly during the 1919-1920 oil rush.

Most of the poems in the volume, however, are serious, and on a wide variety of topics. Typical titles are “Happiness,” “A Night of Rain,” “Winners and Loosers,” “Proud Words and Siple,” and “Hands.”

31 December 1961, Big Spring (TX) Daily Herald, “Boyce House, Noted Texas Humorist, Dies,” pg. 4A, col. 7:
Carl Sandburg has described House’s writing as “that peculiar blend of valor and swagger which is Texas.”

This Dog’ll Hunt:
An Entertaining Texas Dictionary
by Wallace O. Chariton
Plano, TX: Wordware Publishing, Inc.
1989
Pg. 228:
TEXAS
Carl Sandberg (sic) said, “Texas is valor and swagger.”

Google Books
Free Tours, Museums and Sites in America:
The Southern States Series
by Lee Ellis
Americana Group Publishing
2003
Pg. 221:
Texas is a blend of valor and swagger.—Carl Sandburg, poet

(OCLC WorldCat records of Boyce House books)
Texas rhythm /
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: Dallas : Printed in this, the year 1936, the same being the Texas Centennial, by Dealey and Lowe, 1936

Oil boom;
the story of Spindletop, Burkburnett, Mexia, Smackover, Desdemona, and Ranger,
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: Caldwell, Id., Caxton printers, 1941

I give you Texas! :
500 jokes of the Lone Star state /
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Tex. : The Naylor Co., 1943

Tall talk from Texas,
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Tex., Naylor Co., 1944

Texas, proud and loud,
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Tex., Naylor Co. 1945

Cowtown columnist.
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Tex., Naylor 1946

Cub reporter,
being mainly about Mr. Mooney and the Commercial Appeal.
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: Dallas, Hightower Press, 1947

Texas laughs and the amazing truth about Texas.
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Naylor, 1950

Texas rhythm, and other poems.
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio, Naylor, 1950

You can always tell a Texan :
(but you can’t tell him very much) /
Author: House, Boyce, 1896-1961.
Publication: San Antonio : Naylor Co., 1958

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, November 25, 2007 • Permalink