By Harriet Chappell Owsley
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Extra info for Frank Lawrence Owsley: historian of the Old South : a memoir
Although Frank and I had had many happy times together, I was disturbed by a rather persistent rumor that he was engaged to a girl in his hometown in South Alabama. I dared not think about that possibility when Christmas came and he went home for the holidays. I tried to think of other things but had little success. I was glad when the holidays were over. One of my girlfriends, Thelma Stacy, had spent the holidays with her grandmother, who lived in Eclectic, Alabama, where some of Frank's family lived.
None had viewed the area in broader concepts or examined its history buried in undiscovered or ignored records. Sequestered geographically, and to a large extent intellectually, George Petrie in Auburn, Alabama, was able to inspire a small group of budding historians who in time were to have a prominent impact on the exploration of their region's past. Among them were A. B. Moore, H. C. Nixon, and Frank L. Owsley, all of them rural Alabama lads. As a student of Professor Petrie's in the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University), Owsley was set upon the course of becoming an enquiring and productive historian.
Beyond this, men returning from European battlefields brought home with them questions and attitudes opposed to the old Southern ways of life as well as more aggressive concepts of education, social organization, and politics. Added to this was the rising age of the automobile, the mechanization of Southern farming, and the movement south of varied industries. This was the South in which Frank Owsley found tremendous intellectual stimulation. Both he and Harriet Chappell Owsley had lived long enough in the older South to cherish its highest values and traditions.