Campbell, Randolph B(luford) 1940-
CAMPBELL, Randolph B(luford) 1940-
PERSONAL: Born November 16, 1940, in Charlottesville, VA; son of John Landon (a farmer) and Virginia (Lyon) Campbell; married Diana Snow, June 9, 1962; children: James Landon, Jonathan Clay. Education: University of Virginia, B.S., 1961, M.A., 1963, Ph.D., 1966. Politics: Democrat.
ADDRESSES: Home—924 Imperial Dr., Denton, TX 76201. Office—Department of History, North Texas State University, Denton, TX 76203. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, instructor in history, 1963-64; North Texas State University, Denton, assistant professor, 1966-69, associate professor, 1969-73, professor of history, 1977-88, Regents' Professor of History, 1988—.
MEMBER: East Texas Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society of Historians of the Early American Republic, Southern Historical Association, Summerlee Commission on Texas History, Texas State Historical Association, Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: H. Bailey Carroll Award, Texas State Historical Association, 1969-70, for best article in Southwestern Historical Quarterly; Charles W. Ramsdell Award, 1973, 1974; Coral H. Tullis Memorial Prize, Texas State Historical Association, for most important book on Texas published in 1989; Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 1989, for most important contribution to knowledge by a Texas author; Texas Institute of Letters Award, 1989, for An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas; Texas Historical Foundation Book Award, 1990; Ottis Locke Award, East Texas Historical Association, 1989, for outstanding university teacher; Outstanding Academic Book for 1998 award, Choice, for Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-80; elected to the Philosophical Society of Texas, 2000; elected to Texas Institute of Letters, 2002.
(With Donald Chipman and Robert Calvert) The Dallas Cowboys and the NFL, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 1970.
(With Richard G. Lowe) Wealth and Power in Antebellum Texas, Texas A and M University Press (College Station, TX), 1977.
A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850-80, Texas State Historical Association (Austin, TX), 1983.
(With Richard Lowe) Planters and Plain Folk: Agriculture in Antebellum Texas, Southern Methodist University Press (Dallas, TX), 1987.
An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-65, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1989.
Sam Houston and the American Southwest, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
(Compiler) Texas History Documents: America's History, Volume 1, To 1877, Volume 2, Since 1865, third edition, Worth Publishers (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor) Texas Voices: Documents from Texas History, Worth Publishers (New York, NY), 1997.
Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1998.
Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor) Frederick Law Olmsted, A Journey through Texas, or, a Saddle-Trip on the Southwestern Frontier, Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX), 2004.
Contributor of articles to Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Americas, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Journal of Southern History, Journal of American History, Historian, Louisiana Studies, and East Texas Historical Journal.
SIDELIGHTS: Randolph B. Campbell has won much recognition for his work in researching and documenting various aspects of Texas history. An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas was notable for bringing up an issue that is not much discussed in Texas. "Denial about the impact and extent of slavery runs deep in Texas, which long abandoned its southern slave-owning heritage for a romantic image allied with the untamed West," Ellen Bernstein quoted Campbell as saying in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Though discussing slavery can be difficult, Campbell stated that "willingness to set aside the mythic history of the South for an honest look at the past will help build bridges between the races regarding an issue as painful as slavery." Discussing the book in Texas Observer, Debbie Nathan commented that the author considers Texas a southern, rather than a western state: "It opens by noting how almost a third of the population of antebellum Texas was black chattel: a proportion equal to that of Virginia." Using old courthouse records, the author makes "a devastating case that 19th-century Texas slave owners rented out or sold their property, then used the proceeds to pay for their kids' private education—while blacks remained illiterate."
Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880 uses census data, personal papers, court and election records, and a host of other sources to trace the course of reconstruction in six Texas counties following the Civil War. Reviewer Thomas Cutrer, in Civil War History, called Campbell's research "exhaustive," and praised him for drawing "a clear and convincing picture of six counties in Reconstruction-era Texas. From this research, he has gleaned evidence of the racial or ethnic origins of county-level office holders, their antebellum political affiliations and involvement, and their military or political service during the war." The reviewer stated that Campbell even made clear the differences between cotton-producing, slave-owning counties and those that did not fall into these categories. While the evidence leads to the "no-longerstartling revisionist view that carpetbaggers were vastly outnumbered by scalawags in local office, that Blacks never controlled any county government, and that in no instance did Reconstruction policies or governments displace antebellum economic elites," Campbell's book is nevertheless a valuable addition to the scholarly literature on Texas history.
Campbell painted a broader picture in his book Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State. The author stated in a Houston Chronicle interview that his primary target audience was "the general reader, the person who simply wants to know about Texas history in a broad way. It is also intended to be scholarly enough and detailed enough to serve as a textbook in Texas history classes. I tried to write a book that would work for both." He begins far before the first European settlers, describing the Pleistocene Epoch migrants who originally populated the state, continuing through Spanish rule, the age of revolution, the years of Mexican rule, the era in which Texas was an independent republic, and on into modern history. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented favorably on the author's "contemporary approach," which "sets early Texas history firmly within the checkered development of Mexico and keeps African-Americans, both slave and free, as well as native tribes at the center of his story." The reviewer added: "Campbell shows an unusual ability to judge people in 21st-century terms without losing sight of the long-ago context of their acts." Dale Farris, assessing the book in Library Journal, called it a "superb, engrossing history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Agricultural History, spring, 1990, Peter Kolchin, review of An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, p. 341.
American Historical Review, October, 1988, J. William Harris, review of Planters and Plain Folk: Agriculture in Antebellum Texas, p. 1115; December, 1990, C. Peter Ripley, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 1632; October, 1999, Roberta Sue Alexander, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 1306.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March, 1989, Rondo Cameron, review of Planters and Plain Folk, p. 177.
Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX), August 10, 2003, Mike Cox, "Gone to Texas through history," p. K5.
Choice, September, 1998, M. Morrison, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 198.
Civil War History, June, 1990, Alwyn Barr, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 179; March, 1999, Thomas Cutrer, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 92.
Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX), August 17, 2003, Fritz Lanham, review of Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State, and interview with Randolph B. Campbell, p. 16.
Journal of American History, December, 1984, Don Doyle, review of A Southern Community in Crisis: Harrison County, Texas, 1850-80, p. 643; June, 1988, Morton Rothstein, review of Planters and Plain Folk, p. 258; March, 1999, James Marten, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 1600.
Journal of Economic History, March, 1988, Harold Woodman, review of Planters and Plain Folk, p. 207; June, 1990, James Clifton, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 488; March, 1999, Harold Woodman, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 235.
Journal of Southern History, February, 1991, Ann Patton Malone, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 100; November, 1994, James Marten, review of Sam Houston and the American Southwest, p. 796; May, 1999, Robert Calvert, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 420.
Journal of the Early Republic, spring, 1990, Donald Schaefer, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 100; spring, 1994, Walter Buenger, review of Sam Houston and the American Southwest, p. 142.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of Gone to Texas, p. 726.
Library Journal, June 15, 1989, Randall Miller, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 67; July, 2003, Dale Farris, review of Gone to Texas, p. 99.
Montana: The Magazine of Western History, winter, 1996, p. 18.
Pacific Historical Review, May, 1990, Ben Procter, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 258.
Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2003, review of Gone to Texas, p. 59.
Reviews in American History, June, 1990, Shane White, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 197.
Social Science Quarterly, September, 1990, Robert Pace, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 658.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, April, 1991, Shearer Davis Bowman, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 637; October, 1993, Gregg Cantrell, review of Sam Houston and the American Southwest, p. 345.
Western Historical Quarterly, February, 1989, Robert McMath, Jr., review of Planters and Plain Folk, p. 69; February, 1991, J. Matthew Gallman, review of An Empire for Slavery, p. 97; spring, 1999, John Marzalek, review of Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880, p. 90.
Capital Journal Online, http://www.cjonline.com/ (December 1, 2003), "Lindsborg claim to fame debated in new book."
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http://www.caller2.com/ (September 19, 2000), Ellen Bernstein, "A New Awareness."
Humanities and Social Sciences Online, http://www.hnet.org/ (September 17, 2004), Mary L. Kelley, review of Gone to Texas.
Texas Observer, http://www.texasobserver.org/ (January 16, 2004), Debbie Nathan, "Lone Done Gone."*