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Polly Burson Scrapbook

Polly Burson Scrapbook
Creator: Polly Burson
Dates: 1939-1998
Quantity: 5 inches
Accession: 2010.015


The scrapbook contains many photographs and newspaper clippings spanning Burson’s career as a trick rider and Hollywood stunt woman.


Known for being a trick rider and stunt double, Polly Drayer Mills Burson was born Pauline Shelton on December 24, 1919, in Ontario, Oregon, to parents who were rodeo riders. She grew up in Oxnard, California, was married and divorced twice, and had no children.

Burson spent the majority of her life working in rodeos and films. She made all her own trick riding outfits and traveled the world performing with different rodeo groups. She eased into the Hollywood business in her late twenties, and acted as a double for actresses such as Yvonne DeCarlo, Joan Leslie, and Betty Hutton. She also is credited as being a double in True Grit (1969).

Polly Burson was the first recipient of the Tad Lucas Memorial Award of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1990. She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, in November 2002. Polly died in 2006.

Scope & Content Note

The scrapbook has many photographs and newspaper clippings spanning Burson’s career. The photographs have been organized into two categories: those with known dates and those without. The newspaper clippings are also organized into two categories: those pertaining to Polly’s stunt work and those pertaining to her trick riding.

Note to Researchers
The scrapbook was taken apart for preservation purposes. Photocopies of the original layout of the scrapbook are included with each item. Any undated items were kept in the original order they appeared in the scrapbook, and any dated items were placed in date order.

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Burson, Polly

Subject Headings:

Margie Earlywine donated the scrapbook in 2010.

Processing Information

The Polly Burson Scrapbook was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2010 by Margie Earlywine.

Preferred Citation

Polly Burson Scrapbook, Box #, Folder #, Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Container List

All Series

1939-1998, n.d.
Box Folder Folder title/Description
Newspaper Clippings
1 1 Stunt work, 1945-1998
1 2 Trick riding, 1944-1951
1 3 1939-1957
1 4 Undated

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