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This is Page 62.

See some past weeks' photos below.

See an index of all past weeks' photos here.

See Page 1 here with the current photo of the week.

 

We welcome your pictures. We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We're looking for vintage photos and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo to share, email us for information about sending it to us.

Each week, we'll post selected photos from those received. We'll also share some photos posted previously elsewhere at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

Send your photo.

 Email us for information about sending it to us.

 

 

If you enjoy this feature, you may also be interested in our 
Western Memories Project, the personal recollections— many with photos— contributed by BAR-D visitors.  Your stories and photos are welcome.


 

 

We welcome your photos.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


previous  photos

index of all photos


November 16, 2009

 

Author, editor, and writing teacher Heidi M. Thomas of the Pacific Northwest shares photos of her grandmother, "a real Montana cowgirl who rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s." Her grandmother was the inspiration for Heidi M. Thomas's recent novel, My Cowgirl Dreams. The commentary is from her blog, heidiwriter.wordpress.com:

My grandmother, on whom I based my novel, Cowgirl Dreams, was an avid horsewoman. I have notes that she wrote about some of the horses she owned. She described them as “pals that meant so much to me.”

One was a sorrel with a blaze face she called Bobby (Toby in the book). She writes: “He loved to run. I sure took him on some long rides and when I got to school we’d sure do some racing. Dear old Bobby was such a faithful friend & I rode him too hard at times.”

Grandma wrote that each horse, “like people, was different in disposition. Now old Blacky, for instance, was a pacing horse. I used to ride him sometimes for going to town. He sure had an easy gate … sure covered the miles easy.”

Grandma had a beautiful dark chestnut mare, a hambletonian she described as “high strung and the fastest trotting horse I ever rode. She sometimes took a notion to stampede, but never did buck. I rode her in lots of races in town celebrations. She was tops, and had endurance.”

Now, here’s the fun part. My grandmother’s nickname was “Toots” or “Tootsie” and she named this mare “Nettie.” I’m sure I must have heard about this horse before I started to write my book, but I didn’t remember it until much later. I was surprised to discover I had named my main character “Nettie.” So, naturally I had to name her horse “Tootsie.” Subliminal influence? Maybe.

I don’t know if this is “Nettie” in the picture [above] or not.

A clipping from the Sunburst Sun (Montana) newspaper, Aug. 26, 1922 reads:

Program

1:00 Parade of cowboys and cowgirls, headed by Cut Bank brass band

2:30 Tootsie Bailey will enter competition with entire field, riding wild steers with only one hand in cirsingle

Tootsie was my grandmother and she would have been 17 at that time.

Another clipping states “Tootsie Bailey won first and Mary (Marie) Gibson second prize in the steer riding.”

She was probably more comfortable in Levis and Stetson, but I have pictures of her posing in a flapper style dress as well as in boots, jeans, and a tall cowboy hat!

My character, Nettie, in Cowgirl Dreams is more likely to choose the latter outfit, but she does discover when she goes to the “big city” of Great Falls that she kind of likes trying on fashionable dresses and being treated like a lady.


An uncle, my grandmother and grandfather

The first cowgirls, like my grandmother in Montana, helped on their family ranches out of necessity. At an early age they learned to ride horses, rope cattle, and stay in the saddle atop an untamed bucking bronco. They competed with the men in those early ranch gatherings and continued to do so at the organized roundup events.

In 1885, Annie Oakley, a diminutive sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, paved the way for other women to be recognized in the rodeo arena.

Two years later, Bertha Kaepernick was allowed to enter a horse race in Cheyenne’s Frontier Days only because the arena was so muddy the cowboys refused to participate. To entertain the crowd, she was coerced into riding a bucking horse. Despite the terrible conditions, she managed to stay in the saddle, and put the men to shame. She continued to compete and often beat such legendary cowboys as Ben Corbett and Hoot Gibson.

Following in Bertha’s footsteps years later, Prairie Rose Henderson of Wyoming forced the Cheyenne organizers to allow her to ride. She went on to become one of the most flamboyant cowgirls of the era, dressing in bright colors, sequins and ostrich plumes over bloomers.

Lucille Mulhall, whose father, Colonel Zack Mulhall, ran a Wild West Show, was described in a 1900 New York World article as “only ninety pounds, can break a bronc, lasso and brand a steer, and shoot a coyote at 500 yards. She can also play Chopin, quote Browning, and make mayonnaise.”

This is the kind of life Nettie, the heroine of my book, Cowgirl Dreams, lived and aspired to.



Find more about Heidi M. Thomas and her book, My Cowgirl Dreams, at her web site, www.heidimthomas.com and at her blog,  heidiwriter.wordpress.com.

See an index of all past photos here.


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


This week's pictures feature Montana cowboys, circa 1940, all from the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (FSA-OWI) collection, a part of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.  In previous Picture the West entries we've had  1939 photos from Alpine, Texas, and 1940 photos from the San Angelo, Texas Fat Stock Show from this collection.

Because the photos were commissioned by the U.S. government, they are in the public domain (It is stated, "Most photographs in this collection were taken by photographers working for the U.S. Government. Work by the U.S. Government is not eligible for copyright protection.")

We'll be posting more selected photos that depict cowboys in coming weeks.

The FSA-OWI collection is described:

The photographs in the Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection form an extensive pictorial record of American life between 1935 and 1944. This U.S. government photography project was headed for most of its existence by Roy E. Stryker, who guided the effort in a succession of government agencies: the Resettlement Administration (1935-1937), the Farm Security Administration (1937-1942), and the Office of War Information (1942-1944). The collection also includes photographs acquired from other governmental and non-governmental sources, including the News Bureau at the Offices of Emergency Management (OEM), various branches of the military, and industrial corporations. In total, the black-and-white portion of the collection consists of about 171,000 black-and-white film negatives...

The photos below were made in 1939 and 1941 by photographer Marion Post Wolcott (who lived 1910-1990; read about her here and at a site created by her daughter, here); and by Arthur Rothstein (who lived 1915-1985; read more about him here).

The photos' captions come from the FSA catalog.

 


Cowboy from Quarter Circle U Ranch at Crow Indian fair. Crow Agency, Montana
August 1941, Marion Post Wolcott
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [
LC-USF34- 058893-E ]
 


Dudes and cowboy from Quarter Circle U Ranch at Crow Indian fair. Crow Agency, Montana
September 1941, Marion Post Wolcott
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [
LC-USF34- 058892-E]
 


Cowboys and spectators at the annual rodeo, Ashland, Montana
August 1941, Marion Post Wolcott
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [
LC-USF34-058684-D]
 


Cowboy at Quarter Circle U roundup, Montana
June, 1939, Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [
LC-USF33-003295-M4]
 


Cowhand at a dance, Birney, Montana
June, 1939, Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [
LC-USF34-024496-D]

 

 


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.


   

        

       

     

       

     

     

     

    

     

   

     

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us your stories!  If you have a photo to share, email us.

See an index of all past photos here.

 

 

 

 

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