Synopses & Reviews
The commercial world of South Texas between 1880 and 1940 provided an attractive environment for many seeking to start new businesses, especially businesses that linked the markets and finances of the United States and Mexico. Entrepreneurs regularly crossed the physical border in pursuit of business.and#160;
But more important, more complex, and less well-known were the linguistic, cultural, and ethnic borders they navigated daily as they interacted with customers, creditors, business partners, and employees.
Drawing on her expertise as a bankruptcy lawyer, historian Alicia M. Dewey tells the story of how a diverse group of entrepreneurs, includingand#160;Anglo-Americans, ethnic Mexicans, and European and Middle Eastern immigrants, created and navigated changing business opportunities along the Texas-Mexico border between 1880 and 1940.
andquot;Concisely written with numerous examples of individual businessmen and women in the South Texas borderlands, Alicia M. Deweyandrsquo;s book enhances our understanding of the social, economic, and political dynamics that shaped the regionandrsquo;s bi-national history from 1880-1940.andnbsp; Using untapped archival sources, such as business records, bankruptcy court filings, and credit reports, this work describes and analysis the transition from the earlier merchant capitalists to the rise of modern businesses in the region.andnbsp; In doing this, the author clearly shows how men and women of various nationalities and backgrounds obtained credit and the intricacies of how they depended on other merchants and the consumers for their livelihoods.andnbsp; Deweyandrsquo;s work moves us beyond the tendency to see the Texas-Mexico borderlands as a purely Hispanic-Anglo world and one in which modernization did not arrive until the 1920s or later.andnbsp; It is a solid contribution to Borderlands and Western History. andquot;andmdash;Armando Alonzo, Associate Professor, Texas AandM University
andquot;Atandnbsp;longandnbsp;last, we nowandnbsp;have an outstanding new book on a heretofore sadly neglected topic.andnbsp; Alicia Deweyandnbsp;presents readers with an enlightening interdisciplinaryandnbsp;studyandnbsp;that focuses on the owners of a wide range ofandnbsp;business enterprises operating along the Texas-Mexican border in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.andnbsp; This outstanding monograph should appeal toandnbsp;scholarsandnbsp;interested in several overlappingandnbsp;fields, includingandnbsp;borderlands historyandnbsp;and business history.andnbsp;andnbsp;Dewey hasandnbsp;conducted extensive research in all the pertinent archival resources, and sheandnbsp;presents her materialandnbsp;in a pleasingly analytical style.andquot;andmdash;Edwin J. Perkins, Emeritus Professor, University of Southern California
andldquo;Alicia M. Deweyandrsquo;s masterful business history of South Texas, 1880-1940, combines the meticulous legal analysis of credit markets, bankruptcy proceedings, and entrepreneurial opportunities with the social history of immigrants creating multiethnic business communities. andnbsp;This book demonstrates the lawmindedness of men and women seeking profit in a capitalistic market and restoration through bankruptcy. andnbsp;Dewey challenges many of the assumptions of borderlands historians and constructs a narrative of immigrants building up the country.andrdquo;andmdash; Gordon Morris Bakken, California State University, Fullerton. Author ofandnbsp;The Mining Law of 1872: Past, Politics, and Prospectsandnbsp;(2008) and editor, Invitation to an Execution: A History of the Death Penalty in the United Statesandnbsp;(2010)
andldquo;An impressive work of seminal scholarship, Pesos and Dollars: Entrepreneurs in the Texas-Mexico Borderlands, 1880-1940 is the latest addition to outstanding Texas AandM University Press series Connecting the Greater West. Exceptionally informative and well written.andrdquo;andmdash;The Midwest Book Review, February 2015
andquot; . . . a bold and meticulously researched book that provides essential nuance to both the study of the South Texas borderlands and the economic history of the state more generally.andquot; andmdash;Southwestern Historical Quarterly
This bookand#160;enriches the study of the US-Mexican borderlands by examining cooperation and collaboration in pursuit of profit, demonstrating that there was more to the region during this period than simmering conflict, class stratification, and racial prejudice. There was also the enduring pursuit of pesos and dollars.
About the Author
ALICIA M. DEWEY is an associate professor of history at Biola University in La Mirada, California.