Howdy, y’all! Mother’s Day is this weekend and today is Throwback Thursday! I made a trip to the Dickinson Research Center to see what I could find and I wasn’t disappointed.
Y’all. The photos were literally so, so precious. Let’s go look at the photos and learn a little bit more about the people in them!
Moms are often our biggest cheerleaders. Whether they’re cheering from the stands or giving hugs on the sidelines – we wouldn’t be where we are without them! We’re especially grateful for the rodeo moms who make sure all of the cowboys and cowgirls are supported. Below are the mothers of two rodeo stars.
Mary Lyne and Florence Tibbs
Phil Lyne’s mother, Mary (left photo) can be seen cheering on her son as he competes at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1971. Phil was a really good bull rider. Like, really, really good y’all. He’s the only cowboy to win the NFR average titles in THREE events: Bull Riding, Calf Roping and Steer Roping. He was also named the World Champion All-Around Cowboy twice. His mother always cheered him on!
Casey Tibbs (right photo) is seen with his mother, Florence and sister at a rodeo in Ellensburg, Washington in 1949. Can we take a second to look at the stunning background in this photo?
Thanks for always taking care of everyone, rodeo moms!
Indigenous women have always occupied special roles in their communities. The photos below show mothers and their children dressed in traditional clothing.
Lissie Woodward (Kiowa) and her son, Oliver are pictured below. Oliver is sleeping in a cradleboard.
Chippewa Mother and child
Pictured below is a Chippewa mother and child around 1900.
You can visit the Native American Gallery at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum to see several different styles of cradleboards.
Paul Baker was born into the rodeo lifestyle. His grandfather, Paul Banks was one of the Directors of the Nebraska Big Rodeo and member of the National Finals Committee. There are several photos of Paul and his mother, Karen in the DRC archives. This photo shows Paul and his mother at the Burwell, Nebraska rodeo. DeVere Helfrich, a rodeo photographer snapped this happy image.
I LOVE Karen’s glasses and skirt in this photo, she had great style!
Several women also moved West with their husbands to homestead. Check out this photo of a mother and two young toddlers seated in a carriage in front of a house on the open prairie. I don’t know about y’all, but I know my sister and I were wild enough that we would have probably fallen out of that carriage… Enough about that though LOL…
Life on the prairie could be rough and the moms did their best to make sure their families were taken care of. Some women kept diaries or wrote letters to their friends and family back home. Some of these documents have been preserved and published. You can read the homesteading letters of brave women and learn a lot.
The letters and stories of Elinore Pruitt Stewart, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamund Underwood illustrate different aspects of life in the American West in the nineteenth century. I’ll link the books at the end of this post so you can read them too! 🙂
Mothers in the Studio with their kids
How cute are these studio portraits of moms and their kids?! Did anyone else’s parents drag them to the portrait studio to have their picture taken? Did your parents promise you a treat if you behaved and smiled your biggest and prettiest smile too? I always tried my very best because you never knew what the treat would be!
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into the archives at the Dickinson Research Center (DRC) at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. You can make an appointment or view more photos by clicking Dickinson Research Center.
Join us next time as we talk about the history of chuck wagons – you don’t want to miss it. I’ve got some more cool photos to show you and stories to share!
Interested in learning more about women in the American West? Check out these books from Persimmon Hill!
African American Women Confront the West, 1600-2000. Eds. Quintard Taylor and Shirley Ann Wilson Moore.
Dorothy Wickenden. Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West (New York: Scribner, 2011).
Elinore Pruitt Stewart. Letters of a Woman Homesteader (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1914).
“Carte de Visite single portrait of a Mother &Infant sitting,” Henry Madison Wantland, c. 1910, black and white dry plate negative. Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2000.005.2.0251.
“Carte de Visite single portrait of a Mother & young Daughter,” Henry Madison Wantland, c. 1910, black and white dry plate negative. Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2000.005.2.0250.
“Casey – Mother & Sis,” DeVere Helfrich, 1949, black and white safety film negative. DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 81.023.05565.
“Chippewa Mother and Child,” c. 1900, color stereograph. Photographic Study Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2004.250.004.
“Kiowa, Lissie Woodward and son Oliver,” William E. Irwin, c. 1895, black and white cabinet card. Photographic Study Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2002.188.
“Mother & baby Arthur taken at Brooklyn-Ia, June 1898.” Holmes, 1898, black and white dry plate negative. Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2000.005.5.57
“Paul Baker & Mother.” DeVere Helfrich, 1963, black and white safety film negative. DeVere Helfrich Rodeo Photographs, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 81.023.22222A-07.
“Phil Lynes Mother,” Bern Gregory, 1971. Bern Gregory Rodeo Photographs, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 1999.025.0485.22.
“[Unidentified woman sitting with two toddlers in carriage in front of home]. Ca. 1917, black and white photographic print. Photographic Study Collection, DRC, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 2002.180.16.
“Baker,” Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), January 17, 1977.
“Baker Services Will BE Tuesday,” Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, NE), January 17, 1977.
“Joe R. Lyne,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Corpu Christi, TX), October 27, 1999.
“Plans for ’64 Rodeo Off to a Good Start,” The Burwell Tribune (Burwell, NE), January 23, 1964.