Mrs. Hugh Sellers Collection

Mrs. Hugh Sellers Collection, 1930s
1 folder
Location: 0143
Accession #: 1970.018


This is a small collection of photographs portraying Jose Barrera and Pawnee Bill, one of which is hand-tinted and two of which are attached to a holiday card.


No biographical information about Mr. or Mrs. Hugh Sellers is available. This collection was given or left to the Museum without much information.

José Barrera 
José Barrera, or as was sometimes known as Mexican Joe, was born in Mier Tamps, Mexico in 1882. In 1897, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show was the first to hire Barrera as a performer. Only fifteen years old at the time, Barrera was already an expert equestrian and roper. Because of his accomplished use of the lariat from horseback, Wild West Shows billed him as the greatest trick roper in the world. He toured throughout the United States and Europe with Pawnee Bill, Buffalo Bill Cody, and the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Show. He and other Mexican performers executed the spectacular “Bailable a Caballo” in which riders and horses danced in pairs to the music of a twelve piece Mexican band.

In 1905 José Barrera married Effie Cole. Effie became a star in her own right. Her specialties were hurdle jumping, piloting four horses in a chariot race, the High School Horse Act, and the Western Ballet. The couple had two children, one who died in infancy and a daughter, Mary. With their daughter, the Barreras lived and worked at the Pawnee Bill Ranch near Pawnee, Oklahoma, for decades. Barrera was the Pawnee Bill Ranch foreman, overseeing livestock and agricultural activities. He died of old age in Pawnee Oklahoma, on November 17, 1949.

Wallis, Michael. The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West, 1999.
“Mexican Joe.” Wikipedia article entry, retrieved November 18, 2009.

One of the photographs has a short poem by C.G. Wilson printed on it. Please visit the Guide to the C.G. Wilson Collection for more information about him and his scrapbook.

This collection contains five photographs of Pawnee Bill and Mexican Joe. Two of the photographs of Pawnee Bill are attached to a Christmas card. One of the photographs of Mexican Joe has a poem written by C. G. Wilson.

Personal Names:
Barrera, Jose
Pawnee Bill, 1860-1942
Wilson, C.G.

Subject Headings:

This collection was accessioned in 1970. Librarian Karen Spilman wrote the scope and content note in March 2003. The current finding aid was written and updated by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller in November 2009.

The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.

Mrs. Hugh Sellers Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Series 1: Mrs. Hugh Sellers Collection
Photographs have been cataloged in the Image Archive Database, but none have been scanned yet.
Box/Folder # Accession # Folder Title/Description
1/1 1970.018.1 Mexican Joe 1938. Sylvia Enright, publisher. Enid, OK. Photograph, color, 10.5×8.5 in. hand tinted.
1970.018.2 The Roper [and poem about Mexican Joe by C. G. Wilson]. 1930 ca. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in.
1970.018.3 Pawnee Bill. 1936. Sylvia Enright, publisher. Perry, OK. Photograph, b&w, 4.5×2.75 in. Photograph is on the front of a Christmas card
1970.018.4 Pawnee Bill with a horse and some buffalo. 1930 ca. Photograph, b&w, 4.75×3.5 in. Photograph is inside a Christmas card
1970.018.5 The Frontier Showman [Pawnee Bill]. 1930 ca. Sylvia Enright, publisher. Perry, OK. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in.