THE NEWS FROM BROWNSVILLE: HELEN CHAPMANS LETTERS FROM THE TEXAS MILITARY FRONTIER, 1848 – 1852.
LIMITED EDITION OF 70 COPIES
Austin: Texas State Historical Assoc., 1992. xxvi,410pp. Index. Bibliography. Photographs. Notes. Map. White linen cloth with brown leather spine, title in gilt on spine. Publisher’s white linen slipcase. First edition, limited edition of 70 numbered copies. Fine copy in an equally nice slipcase. This collection of letters was written by an Army officer’s wife during five years on the South Texas frontier. Helen Chapman and her husband William, the first quartermaster at Fort Brown, were two of the influential citizens involved in the founding of Brownsville, Texas. An educated, intelligent woman, Helen chronicled their frontier experiences and provided commentary on social conditions covering a wide range of topics. Mrs. Chapman expressed opinions on women’s roles on the frontier, childcare and diet, slavery, temperance, and the relationships of Texans and Mexicans in the new state of Texas. She provides lively descriptions of army express riders, gold seekers, epidemics, a trip to Mexico City, and her own childbirth experiences in the midst of a border of a border war. Particularly valuable in in that these letters give a picture of life on the Rio Grande and Fort Brown from a woman’s perspective in the early days of statehood.