Skip to main content


...and here is my shortest ever article publication, just out...

Here is my newest article to go into print, titled "What's In a Name?: The History, and Proper Usage, of the Names 'Texas Bar Association' and 'State Bar of Texas'," at pages 15-17 in the Fall 2019 issue of *In Chambers,* the journal of the Texas Center for the Judiciary. This article is a by-product of my very long, forthcoming paper/article/book chapter(s) on the history of the Texas Bar Association, 1882-1940....

Recent posts

"Most historical work involves an interplay between past and present"

"Most historical work involves an interplay between past and present. If it is good historical work, the past will have something to teach; at the least, a richer sense of the past might safeguard us against an oversimple depiction of the present. Yet it is the present that proposes the questions we ask, and the present-day contentions and excitements over [controversial matters] and their importance furnishe[s] the impetus for . . . study."

Samuel Haber, The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900 at 359-60 (1991).

Santayana and Twain . . .

"The American philosopher George Santayana once wrote that '[t]hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'--implying, perhaps, that if we educate ourselves, we can escape the destinies that our ancestors have woven for
us. This is not true, of course. If only it were. Life would be easier if we could use the lessons of history to predict the future, and thus to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. But as the humorist Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) once observed: "History doesn't repeat itself-at best it sometimes rhymes."Like poetry, history is enigmatic: it asks more questions than it answers. Is 2006 likely to resemble 1976, with a guerrilla war behind us but economic misery ahead in the forms of high inflation (or more likely, a declining dollar),high energy prices, and stagnating wages? What about 1926--the height of that experiment in public morality known as 'Prohibition'--when our enchantment with 'borro…

"Rarely does history provide an obvious road map to solving new legal problems, but it does at least two other things . . . "

Karen Tani, the legal historian at Boalt Hall Law School ( recently wrote:
"Rarely does history provide an obvious road map to solving new legal problems, but it does at least two other things well: (1) it helps explain why the legal landscape looks the way it does; and (2) it illuminates the consequences of particular legal choices. This makes all the more valuable recent historical work that engages with political economy. We gain from this work a better sense of the political economies that produced our current configuration of laws. We also gain insights into how law constructs the political economy of the future—by sending signals about who will be insulated from the vicissitudes of “the market” and who will be exposed, whose rights can be bargained away and whose are too sacred, whose lives have value and whose do not."

More complicated than most states, the history of Texas . . .

"With the variety of granting systems in Texas under several different forms of government, timing is critical along with the history of the formation of the state, in order to understand the origin and development of a tract of land. More complicated than most states, the history of Texas serves as an important example of the importance of the history of a territory and the changes in its laws and policies over time . . . . Texas is no doubt more complex than most."

-Donald A. Wilson, Boundary Retracement: Processes and Procedures at 347-48 (2017).

Per D.W. Meinig, "The principal organizing system is chronology . . . "

"The principal organizing system is chronology, which is not in itself history but the scaffold upon which one constructs history. . . . [A]ny historical view clearly  implies a belief that the past has fundamental significance, one aspect of which is so pervasive as to be easily overlooked: the powerful fact that life must be lived amidst that which was made before. . . . The past endures . . . ."

-D.W. Meinig, "The Beholding Eye: Ten Versions of the Same Scene," in D.W. Meinig, ed., The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes: Geographical Essays at 43 (1979).