Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dane Coolidge: photographer


Western writer Dane Coolidge (1873-1940) was also a photographer. Rummaging through old magazines online I came across an article by him about working cowboys in Arizona, fully illustrated with his photographs. The article appeared in a 1904 issue of Sunset Magazine. His book Cowboys of Arizona was published in 1938. His first novel Hidden Water (1910) was reviewed here at BITS a while ago. Find it here.


I like the hip-slung posture of the cowpuncher in the background. I believe it is supposed to be characteristic of the Texas cowboy. You see Paul Newman affecting it in the posters for the movie Hud.


Coming up: Charles Duff Stuart, Casa Grande (1906)

13 comments:

  1. we never branded our cattle. We used ear tags for them for quite a while. And we did our work mostly on foot rather than horseback, but I think I could call myself a cattleman considering my experiences growing up.

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  2. These are amazing, I love grainy old black and white photos, there's something really candid about them.

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    1. Thanks for coming by. I'll see what else I can find for you from that period.

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  3. Thanks for posting these pics. Branding was a hard day's work for all hands then. Now, they have standup cages they run 'em through.

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    1. I believe you are right about that, Oscar.

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  4. Ron, thanks for sharing these vintage photographs. These cowboys look so ordinary compared to their more glamourous counterparts in books and films. I don't think they are wearing holsters. The man in the last picture is not even wearing a belt. I have often wondered how branding in the Wild West originated.

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    1. According to one source, cattle branding goes back to at least 2000 BC. It was introduced in the Americas by the Spanish.

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  5. Dane Coolidge certainly lived an interesting life. The closest thing to a biography that we have is the long, 22 page article by Jon Tuska in the Coolidge paperback, MAN FROM WYOMING. It discusses his novels and what magazines they appeared in plus the amounts paid for the serials.

    Speaking of holsters, I've heard many cowboys simply stuck their guns in their belts.

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    1. Yes, that seems to have been a common practice. There would also have been little use for a heavy gun and gun belt while working on the ground wrestling cattle.

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  6. Cowboys daughter here... i'm a tad greener than most but I had to comment about the 2nd photo how the dude in the background seems casually watching the other guy hard at work. When dad was working i never had the opportunity to stand by and watch... it was help out or get out. Thanks for sharing - i understand that my post is very far after the fact. hope that this is ok.

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  7. Cowboys daughter here... i'm a tad greener than most but I had to comment about the 2nd photo how the dude in the background seems casually watching the other guy hard at work. When dad was working i never had the opportunity to stand by and watch... it was help out or get out. Thanks for sharing - i understand that my post is very far after the fact. hope that this is ok.

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