By Michele Nations
The public is invited to attend The Friends of the Library-sponsored book signing of “Oysters, Macaroni, and Beer: Thurber, Texas, and the Company Store” by historian, author and professor Dr. Gene Rhea Tucker.
The event will be in the meeting room at the Boyce Ditto Public Library, 2300 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. St., in Mineral Wells on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Even though there have been half a dozen books written about Thurber’s history, Dr. Tucker focuses on a different aspect than the other previous books – business history. He used his background in banking to look through financial records during the years from 1894 to 1934.
Going beyond regular literature searches, he explored such primary sources as the memories of miners, company records, legal documents, and newspaper accounts of events. He probed databases dealing with advertisements for goods and company ledgers to compare prices per item throughout the area to answer such questions as: Did the company store (Texas Pacific Mercantile and Manufacturing Company) charge higher prices than other stores in the area? Were non-Anglo patrons treated differently by the company in regard to employment or for services by the company store? Did the workers “owe their souls to the company store” as the song “16 Tons” suggests?
Tucker, siding neither with the company (Texas and Pacific Coal Company) nor its workers, delves into the complex relationship between the two, providing evidence for his conclusions, using maps, tables, notes, and numerous illustrations throughout the 170-page book.
Would you like to know what those conclusions are? Come join us on Nov. 10 and find out!