Frontier Crusader: William F M Arny

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Author: Murphy, Lawrence R (1942- ) letter from author laid in from the library of Professor Donald Worcester

Year: 1972

Publisher: University of Arizona Press

Place: Tucson


xii-313 pages with facsimiles, figures, plates, bibliography and index. Royal octavo (9 1/4" x 6 1/2") bound in original publisher's brown cloth with gold lettering to cover and spine in original jacket. Letter from the author to professor Donald Worcester laid in. First edition.

Driven by religious zeal and philanthropic enthusiasm, William F M Arny in the mid-1800s waged his endless crusade-establishing churches, founding schools, organizing farmers, creating political parties and introducing improved transportation methods. This dynamic reformer strode westward through a series of developing communities in the Virginia mountains, Illinois farm country, Kansas plains and New Mexico deserts prior to becoming an Indian agent and making the far Southwest his workshop. But, no less than other federal officials, Arny as an Indian agent failed to comprehend the cultural differences between the Indians and the white settlers. While he sincerely felt the government had a "sacred duty" to better the lot of the Indians by "educating them mentally, morally and physically," his intent was to "Americanize" them-their dress, language and even their religion. In the main, Arny's reasons were rooted in his stubborn desire to "do right." Even when he was "right," he still antagonized nearly everyone with whom he worked-Indians and whites alike. In spite of constant opposition he threw himself wholeheartedly into his self-righteous crusade to "civilize and Christianize" the Indians.

Donald E. Worcester (1915-2003) was an American historian who specialized in Southwestern United States and Latin American history. He was president of the Western History Association from 1974-1975. Worcester graduated from Bard College in 1939. He received an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1941. He then served in the US Naval Reserve in World War II. He received a PhD. from Berkeley in 1947. From 1947 until 1963 he was a professor at the University of Florida. He then was a professor at Texas Christian University and history department chair. From 1960 until 1965 he was managing editor of the Hispanic American Historical Review. Worcester's view that history is made of complexities, not dualities, is seen as foundational for much of the understanding by later scholars of Southwest United States history.


Signed typed letter from the author to professor Worcester laid in with his stamp to front end paper, head corners bumped. Jacket spine sunned else a near fine copy in a very good to fine copy.

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