Procter, Ben 1927–

views updated

Procter, Ben 1927–

(Ben H. Procter)

PERSONAL:

Born February 21, 1927, in Temple, TX; son of Leslie C. (a teacher) and Hazel Procter; married, 1951; children: Ben Rice. Education: University of Texas, B.A., 1951, M.A., 1952; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1961. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Fort Worth, TX. Office—TCU Box 297260, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129-0002. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Austin Recreation Department, Austin, TX, baseball supervisor, 1948-55; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX, 1957—, began as instructor, became professor of history, 1968—, Piper Professor, 1973. St. Mark's School, Dallas, TX, consultant, 1962; Texana, member of editorial board. Military service: U.S. Navy Reserve, 1945-46.

MEMBER:

American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, American Association of University Professors, Southwestern Social Science Association, Western Historical Society, Southern Historical Society, Texas State Historical Society, Tarrant County Historical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Alpha Theta.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Summerfield G. Roberts Award for best book of the Republic period in Texas, 1963, for Not without Honor, Minnie Piper fellowship; named a Son of the Republic of Texas and to the Longhorn Hall of Fame.

WRITINGS:

Not without Honor: The Life of John H. Reagan, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1962.

(With Sam Kinch) Texas under a Cloud, Jenkins Publishing (Austin, TX), 1972.

(With others) Texas: The Land and Its People, Hendrick-Long Publishing Co. (Dallas, TX), 1972, 3rd edition, 1987.

(Editor, with Archie P. McDonald) The Texas Heritage, Forum Press, 1980, 4th edition, Harlan Davidson (Wheeling, IL), 2003.

The Battle of the Alamo, Texas State Historical Association (Austin, TX), 1986.

Just One Riot: Episodes of Texas Rangers in the 20th Century, Eakin Press (Austin, TX), 1991.

(Editor) N.A. Jennings, A Texas Ranger, Lakeside Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1998.

William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to books published by Texian Press, including Heroes of Texas, 1964; Six Missions of Texas, 1965; Frontier Forts of Texas, 1966; Rangers of Texas, 1969; and Capitols of Texas, 1970. Contributor to other books, including Reflections by Western Historians, University of Arizona, 1969, and The Mexican-Americans: An Awakening Minority, Glencoe, 1969; contributor to encyclopedias and professional publications.

SIDELIGHTS:

Ben Procter is a native of Texas and spent his entire teaching career in the state. The author of several books of Texas history, he also wrote a two-volume biography of William Randolph Hearst. The life of Hearst is well documented, but in writing William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910 and William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951, Procter had access to previously unavailable family papers now held by the University of California—Berkeley's library. Procter also drew on Hearst's own editorials in making his observations of the man and his methods.

In reviewing the first volume, a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "Over and over, he points out the factual and interpretive mistakes of previous Hearst biographers." Also reviewing the first volume in the American Journalism Review, Carl Sessions Stepp wrote: "Could it be that Hearst didn't personify yellow journalism, didn't foment the Spanish-American War, didn't deserve his leonine reputation as Citizen Kane the poohbah? As it turns out, Ben Procter's new biography punctures few illusions. If anything it reinforces Hearst's larger-than-life legacy."

Procter documents the Harvard dropout's rise to power, beginning with his success with the San Francisco Examiner, which was handed to him by his father, and which he modeled after Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. By relying on sensationalism to increase circulation, Hearst's success enabled him to buy the New York Journal, Pulitzer's rival. Hearst, a man who could not tolerate opposition, made a failed run for the presidency, and he believed that through his papers, he could direct the will of the people far better than could the government. He was essentially a lonely man and not particularly well liked.

In reviewing the first volume, Historian contributor Donna M. Binkiewicz noted that Procter "argues that Hearst was a complex man deserving of both criticism for his journalistic and personal excesses and praise for his often overlooked progressive defense of justice for the lower classes…. Procter also concentrates on Hearst's progressive tendencies, which he posits other historians have neglected." Jay Freeman reviewed the second volume in Booklist, commenting: "This is a superb examination."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February, 2000, Gerald J. Baldasty, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 230.

American Journalism Review, July-August, 1998, Carl Sessions Stepp, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 64.

Booklist, April 1, 1998, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years 1863-1910, p. 1280; April 15, 2007, Jay Freeman, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951, p. 6.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1998, R.N. Seidel, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 383.

Contemporary Review, February, 1999, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years 1863-1910, p. 112.

Economist, October 17, 1998, review of Press Barons: October 17, 1998, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910.

Historian, fall, 1999, Donna M. Binkiewicz, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 162.

Journal of Southern History, May, 1993, Alwyn Barr, review of Just One Riot: Episodes of Texas Rangers in the Twentieth Century, p. 407.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, reviews of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910 and William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951.

Library Journal, April 1, 1998, Judy Solberg, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 102; June 1, 2007, Judy Solberg, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951, p. 126.

Publishers Weekly, February 23, 1998, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Early Years, 1863-1910, p. 58; March 26, 2007, review of William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951, p. 78.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, January, 1993, David P. Smith, review of Just One Riot: Episodes of Texas Rangers in the 20th Century, p. 440; April, 1993, Odie S. Faulk, review of The Texas Heritage, p. 595.

About this article

Procter, Ben 1927–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article