Joe Bertram Frantz

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Joe Bertram Frantz
Born (1917-01-16)January 16, 1917
Dallas, Texas, USA
Died November 16, 1993(1993-11-16) (aged 76)
Houston, Texas
Resting place Texas State Cemetery in Austin
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Occupation Historian at University of Texas at Austin and Corpus Christi State University
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Four marriages

Two daughters from first marriage (1939-1979) to former Helen Andrews Boswell

Fourth wife, Betsy Chadderdon Frantz (1990-1993, his death)

Joe Bertram Frantz (January 16, 1917 – November 16, 1993)[1] was a historian from the U.S. state of Texas who specialized in the American West.[2]


Though born in Dallas, an adopted son of Ezra A. Frantz and the former Mary Buckley, Frantz was reared in Weatherford in Parker County west of Fort Worth.[3] He attended the University of Texas at Austin and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism and a Master of Arts in history there, with the thesis entitled "The newspapers of the Republic of Texas".[4] During his undergraduate tenure at UT, he was a staff member of the Daily Texan newspaper, a member of the Rusk Literary Society, and the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Honor Society.[5] His first job was as acting advisor and archivist at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site east of Houston, Texas.

In 1943, Frantz joined the United States Navy during World War II. A lieutenant, he was involved in eight engangements as a communications officer in the South Pacific.[3]

In 1948, Frantz earned his Ph.D. from UT with the dissertation entitled "Infinite pursuit: the story of Gail Borden", a study of the inventor of condensed milk.[6]

With his highest degree in hand, Frantz was then invited to join the UT faculty as an assistant professor. He was elevated in 1953 to associate professor and in 1959 to full professor. In 1959, with Julian E. Choate, he co-authored The American Cowboy: The Myth and the Reality.[7]

After his retirement from UT, Frantz joined the faculty at Corpus Christi State University in Corpus Christi, Texas, now known as Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.[3]

Frantz died in a hospital in Houston and is interred at Texas State Cemetery in Austin.[3]


Frantz published academic books, journal articles, school textbooks, and popular histories,[8]


  • Gail Borden, Dairyman to a Nation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951.
  • (with Julian Ernest Choate). The American Cowboy: The Myth and the Reality. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955.
  • (with David G. McComb) Houston, a Students' Guide to Localized History. New York: Teachers College Press, 1971.
  • The Driskill Hotel. Austin: Encino Press, 1973.
  • Texas: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1976.
    • later version published as Texas, a History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1984.
  • The Forty-Acre Follies. Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1983. (history of the University of Texas)
  • Texas History Movies: The Story of the Lone Star State. Dallas, Texas: Pepper Jones Martinez, Inc, 1985. ISBN 9780935759006
  • (with Mike Cox, and Roger A. Griffin) Lure of the Land: Texas County Maps and the History of Settlement. College Station, for the Texas: Texas General Land Office by Texas A&M University Press, 1988.

Juvenile books[edit]

  • Texas and Its History. Dallas: Pepper Jones Martinez, 1978.
  • (with James B. Kracht) Texas: The Study of Our State. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman, 1988.
    • also published in Spanish as Texas, estudio de nuestro estado


  1. ^ LC Authorities
  2. ^ McComb, David G. Travels with Joe, 1917-1993: The Live Story of a Historian from Texas. Austin, Texas: Texas State Historical Association, 2001. ISBN 9780876111819
  3. ^ a b c d "Joe Bertram Frantz". Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ WorldCat
  5. ^ Cactus Yearbook. Austin, TX: University of Texas. 1940. p. 42. 
  6. ^ WorldCat
  7. ^
  8. ^ WorldCat authors