Fehrenbach, T.R.

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Theodore Reed Fehrenbach was born January 12, 1925, in San Benito, TX. He received a B. A. from Princeton University in 1947 and married Lillian Breetz in 1951. At the early age of seven or eight he wanted to write, and he was an avid reader of everything from Edgar Rice Burroughs in pulp to historical novels. He served in both World War II and Korea. His war books recorded and tried to explain events in which he took some part. Even though he wrote for civilians, the books had a greater impact on soldiers. In addition to being a free-lance writer, he worked as a columnist and editorial writer for SanAntonio newspapers.

From the guide to the Fehrenbach, T.R., 1966, (University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc])

Texas author and historian Theodore Reed Fehrenbach (1925--) was born in San Benito, Texas.

His family relocated to Brownsville, Texas, when he was five. They later moved to California, where he graduated from Hollywood High School at the age of 16. Fehrenbach entered Princeton University in 1941. After serving in WWII, he returned to Princeton to graduate magna cum laude in 1947.

A brief career as a cotton farmer was interrupted when Fehrenbach returned to active military duty during the Korean War as a platoon leader, company commander, and Intelligence Officer.

He later served as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission. After military service he started the Royal Poinciana Insurance Company in San Antonio, Texas, and began his writing career in earnest. Fehrenbach's experience provided the material for "This Kind of War," his account of the Korean conflict, which was published in 1963. This work is held in high esteem by the military and a portion of it is included in the U.S. Military Academy text Introduction to the Military Profession. "This Kind of War" is required reading for all soldiers stationed in Korea.

"Lone Star: a History of Texas and the Texans," published in 1968, is Fehrenbach's best-known work.

It has been used as a text in college history courses and has been included as a Book of the Month Club selection. In 1986, PBS produced a mini-series adaptation of "Lone Star." Because of Fehrenbach's knowledge of Texana, he often consults journalists on Texas history, politics, and current affairs.

Fehrenbach's complete list of works reflects wide-ranging and diverse historical interests.

"Comanches" traces the rise and fall of that tribe, while "Fire and Blood" recounts the history of Mexico. "Swiss Banks" delves into the mysterious and secretive world of the Swiss banking system, and "This Kind of Peace" explores the development of the United Nations. Fehrenbach's writings are not without controversy, however. "Swiss Banks" raised the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, which censored part of the text. In addition, characterizations of an American businessman and an Iranian sheik provoked threats of libel suits. Fehrenbach has published articles in The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Elk, American Legion, and internationally in Zurich Woche, L'Express, and the London Sunday Times. He also served as Secretary for the San Antonio Publishing Corporation, started in 1981, which published the magazine San Antonio Monthly.

Fehrenbach has served on or chaired numerous commissions and committees including the Texas 2000 Commission, the Texas Historical Commission, the Capitol Centennial Committee and the Texas Antiquities Protection Committee.

Awards from associations ranging from the Knights of Mark Twain, Sons of the Texas Revolution, and the U.S. Army have been bestowed upon Fehrenbach. His many speaking engagements have included an invitation by Governor William Hobby to speak to a joint session of the Texas legislature on March 2, 1977, regarding the celebration of Texas Independence. In 1986 the Texas Historical Commission established the T. R. Fehrenbach Publications Award in his honor.

Fehrenbach currently lives in San Antonio with his wife Lillian.

He is a regular columnist for the San Antonio Express-News.

From the description of Fehrenbach, T.R., papers, 1925-2002 (bulk 1962-1995) (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 659833688

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Biography -- Fehrenbach, Ted. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Fehrenbach, T. R. Biography -- Fehrenbach, T. R. -- Newspaper articles. Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library
creatorOf Fehrenbach, T.R., 1966 University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections [clrc]
creatorOf Fehrenbach, T. R. Fehrenbach, T.R., papers, 1925-2002 (bulk 1962-1995) University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith American Legion corporateBody
associatedWith Clements, William person
associatedWith Curtis, Richard person
associatedWith Fehrenbach, Lillian person
associatedWith Hobby, William person
associatedWith Hogg, Ima person
associatedWith Hutchison, Kay Bailey, 1943-. person
associatedWith Meredith, Scott person
associatedWith Perry, Rick person
associatedWith Texas 1986 Sesquicentennial Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Texas Historical Commission corporateBody
associatedWith Tower, John person
Place Name Admin Code Country
San Benito (Tex.)
San Antonio (Tex.)
Comanche Indians--History
United Nations--History
Banks and banking, Swiss--History


Birth 1925-01-12

Death 2013-12-01



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