• It's Saturday 5:47 PMSorry, we're closed

The Atherton and Silberman Galleries are closed for renovation.

Bell

Bell

Bell 150 150 ctx

Don Bell Collection
Creator: Don Bell
Dates: 1910-1999
Quantity: 8 inches
Accession: 2001.032; 2001.033; 2001.066; 2002.151

Abstract

The Don Bell Collection approaches the lives and events of rodeo from the perspective of a collector, admirer, and desiring historian. Toward the end of his life he frequently wrote brief anecdotes and memoirs of his rodeo experiences, friend, and his own ideas about the rodeo sport and history. He collected photographs, poetry books, and memoirs from other rodeo performers, often sending them to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s liaison with the Rodeo Historical Society, Judy Dearing.

Biography

Born on June 12, 1911, Don had a love of horses and the open range and everything he did in life had him close to both. He grew up in Eastern Colorado and worked with livestock his entire life. He entered his first rodeo at the age of 12 and spent 17 years as a rodeo contestant. He worked as a farrier, big game guide, packer, and range cowboy. A showman at heart, he was a part of the Clyde Miller Wild West Show, the Bill King Rodeo Co., and Rufus Rollins’ Wild West Show. He worked on movie sets and had small parts in the Western movies Shane and Indian Love Call. He contested in rough stock events through 1942 competing in venues like Soldiers Field in Chicago and the Boston Gardens.

In 1943, he served in World War II until being honorably discharged in1945. He served in the 29th Infantry Division, one of the first units to land on Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy. Despite the tremendous losses his infantry experienced, Don survived and became a decorated soldier earning two purple hearts and four bronze stars for his wartime bravery. Don would wear one of the bullets that struck him for the remainder of his life.

It may have been Don’s encounter with WWII war correspondent Ernie Pyle that led him on a path to writing following the war. The famed correspondent told Don, “Anyone that can tell stories like you should be a writer.” The rider turned writer began “henpecking” on a Smith-Corona typewriter much like the one Pyle left behind in the foxhole he and Don fled from while under attack from artillery shells. Like rescuing an old friend, Don retrieved the black Smith-Corona typewriter from the foxhole and had it shipped back home. Years later he would donate it to the Albuquerque, NM, Museum -where Pyle retired and where it still remains on display today.

In his retirement, Don’s love of writing never faded. He continued to write about his life and times while dutifully serving as a rodeo historian for the Rodeo Historical Society and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. He succeeded at inducting eight cowgirls and four cowboys into the Hall of Fame. He is an original Gold card-holding Cowboy Turtle Association member, the first professional rodeo association and an honorary life card holder of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

As Don said, he has “fooled around with an old typewriter juggling words.” In fact, his writing career spanned 30 years and he was still being published at age 93. His articles have appeared over the years in Western Horseman, Guideposts Magazine, The Ketchpen (the official publication of the Rodeo Historical Society), True West, and Good ‘Ol Days. At age 78 he published a book of poetry “Reflections of A Cowboy.” Some of Don’s most treasured and weathered belongings like his saddle, lariat, boots, and hat are at rest at the Smithsonian Institute’s American History Museum in Washington, D.C. In 2000, these artifacts, on loan from the Smithsonian, as well as a life-sized image of Don went on display at the Origins All Sports Museum located at The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

In February 2005, Don’s longtime friends at Guideposts Magazine reprinted one of his first stories originally published in 1976 titled, “The Lonely Trail.” In addition to his public achievements, it was his never-ending love of life and positive attitude Don shared with so many that he will be most remembered. Despite his battle with cancer, Don lived for every moment and told stories from his hospital bed to everyone who visited him. As he reminded the Guidepost readers in February, “I’ll ride this storm until it takes me home.” He died on April 21, 2005.

Don Bell was a Special Award Recipient of the Rodeo Historical Society in 2002, but due to ill health, he did not attend. Don’s daughter, Vicki Bell Abbott accepted the award for him. Abbott told that her dad put a sheep wagon in his front yard, and had the telephone company hook up a telephone in the wagon. This was his office and where he did his writing for many years.

Source: Powell Tribune, Obituary, April 21, 2005.

The Don Bell Collection is divided into six series: rodeo anecdotes, photographs, published materials, collected poems, Cowboys Turtle Association rosters, and Merle Fales cowboy anecdotes.

The rodeo anecdotes series (2000-2002, n.d.) consists of 390 writings by Don Bell about rodeo. Many of the writings are his memories from his time as a rodeo contestant, but some are rodeo history pieces. Bell wrote the anecdotes to the Rodeo Historical Society, and many of them were written after he’d lost the majority of his eye sight. The anecdotes are arranged in the order the Rodeo Historical Society stored them and spelling errors have been corrected in the titles. Researchers should be aware of racist, derogatory, sexist, and inflammatory language used throughout the anecdotes.

The photographs series (1910-1997) consists of rodeo photographs in a variety of formats such as silver gelatin prints, postcards, and transparencies.

The published materials series (1954-2002) consists of books, poetry books, a Sports Illustrated magazine, and newspaper clippings.

The collected poems series (1978-2002) consists of loose poems that Don Bell mailed to the Rodeo Historical Society. The authors of the poems are: Don Bell, Otha Edwards, Howard Powers, Al Sammons, Bob Schild, Iva Nell Stokes Shaw, Jesse A. Wight, and several unsigned poems.

The Cowboys Turtle Association rosters series (1938, 1940) consists of two lists of Cowboys Turtle Association members.

The Merle Fales cowboy anecdotes series (2001 and n.d.) consists of one folder of material compiled by Merle Fales and mailed to the Rodeo Historical Society by Don Bell. The materials cover Fales’ time in rodeo.

Personal Names:
Bell, Don, 1911-2005
Berryman, Betty
Brisendine, Everett, 1906-
Byers, Chester, 1892-1945
Cropper, Tommy
Doubleday, Ralph R.
Edwards, Otha I.
Fales, Merle
Glomb, Skip
Hastings, Mike, 1891-1965
Hennessey, Paul
Isley, Mike
Ivory, June, 1932-2004
Johnson, Charlie
Johnson, Les
Johnston, Bob
Kesler, Liz
Kesler, Reg, 1919-2001
King, Bill
Like, John
Mills, Janie
Mishler, Ben
Offett, Dan
Rollens, Rufus
Ross, Bruce
Roy, Echo
Sammons, Butch
Schild, Bob
Shirey, C.E., Jr.
Tegland, Howard, 1897-1945
Timmons, Buddy
Weintz, Johnny
Wright, Ed

Organizations:
Cowboy Turtle Association
Rodeo Historical Society

The Don Bell Collection was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2001 and 2002 by Don Bell. There are three accessions, but the primary accession number is 2001.032.

Note to the Researcher: Please be aware of of racist, derogatory, sexist, and inflammatory language used throughout the anecdotes.

The Don Bell Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.

Don Bell Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Rodeo Anecdotes – 2000-2002 and n.d.

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
1 8 Come Apart
1 8 Juanita Grey
1 8 Frank Polk
1 8 Everett Brisendine
1 8 Rideum Slick
1 8 Bob Schild
1 8 Curtis Larsen
1 8 John and Dave Shipp
1 8 Nick and Fay Knight
1 8 Manhatton, Kansas Rodeo 1934
1 8 Clayton and Jimmie Danks
1 8 Dick Stanley and Art Holeman
1 8 Larry Jordan Sr.
1 8 Glenn and Merle Fales
1 8 Old Timers in Trick and Fancy Roping
1 8 Sammy Garrett
1 8 Pendleton Rodeo 1937
1 8 Rodeo History
1 8 Johnny Like, Kim, Colorado
1 8 Bud Pilcher
1 8 Bill Daharm
1 8 Don Bell
1 8 North of the Yellowstone
1 8 Belle Palmer
1 8 Miles City Montana Cowboy Capital of this Galaxy
1 8 Bucking Horses
1 8 Frank Dean
1 8 Old Rodeo Memories
1 8 Old Mouldy History
1 8 Rocky Ford Colorado Rodeo, Earl Anderson Stock Contractor
1 8 Paul Carney
1 8 Rufe Rollens 1928
1 8 The Contest Saddle
1 8 Mouldy Oldie for RHS
1 8 Mouldie Oldies
1 8 Buck Wyatt
1 8 Caryle and Gayle Downing
1 8 Monte Jones
1 8 Alice Adams Holden
1 8 Marvel Togers
1 8 Linderman Family
1 8 Alice Greenough
1 8 Monte Henson
1 8 Enoch Walker
1 8 Monte Henson
1 8 Old History
1 8 Movie Career
1 8 Jack Dempsey
1 8 Mouldy Oldies
1 8 Marvel Rodgers, Black Cowboy
1 8 Old History
1 8 Tricky Riggles
1 8 Will James
1 8 Boomers
1 8 A Sad Day in Red Lodge Montana
1 8 Sheridan, Wyoming 1948
1 8 Cowboys Are Born, Contestants Are Made
1 8 Floyd Stillings
1 8 Old Moulies
1 8 Cheyenne Frontier Days 1937
1 8 Reflections
1 8 Vaughn and Jean Craig
1 8 Mabel Welker Baker
1 8 A Jackpot Bronc Riding
1 8 History
1 8 Ward Roberts
1 8 Pretty Prairie Kansas 1933
1 8 Animal Rights
1 8 Nostalgia
1 8 Donald and Jimmie Nesbitt
1 8 Early Day Wild West Shows
1 8 J.W. King: Politician, Rancher, Rodeo Stock Contractor, Kim, Colorado
1 8 Bonnie McCarroll
1 8 History of Yesterday
1 8 Old Hands Write Old Things
1 8 Dick Griffith
1 8 Leonard and Mamie Stroud, Rocky Ford, Colorado
1 8 Edelbrock Saddlery, Ft. Worth, Texas
1 8 A Clown They Called Whispering Smith
1 8 Irvan Munday Calf Roper
1 8 The CircaSingle
1 8 A Different Kind of Rodeo
1 8 A Bad Mule Called Bad Whisky
1 8 Rodeo History
1 8 Buschbom Family
1 8 Reflections
1 8 Reflections
1 8 Anthrax
1 8 Cowboy Reunion
1 8 Reflections
1 8 Bill Huntington
1 8 Lamar, Colorado, about 1925
1 8 Fay Ward
1 8 So You Want a Riden Job
1 8 Frank Polk
1 8 Rex Allen
1 8 Rifle Colorado
1 8 Steer Wrestlers
1 8 Virgel Miranda
1 8 Alice Sisty
1 8 The Buschbom Family
1 8 Turk Greenough
1 8 Fred Rush
1 8 Micky Hicks
1 8 Monte Montana
1 8 Buff Brady
1 8 Bill Van Dyke, Haroltown, Montana
1 8 Warren Frances
1 8 Toledo Slim Benson
1 8 Joe and Johnny Evans
1 8 Will James
1 8 Bud Pilcher
1 8 Harry Rowell
1 8 Curtis and Ralph Larson
1 8 Johnny Like
1 8 Vernon Miranda
1 8 Billy Van Syke
1 8 Rodeo History
1 8 1934 Oklahoma City
1 8 A Little About Cowboys
1 8 A Long Winter
1 8 Ranch Romance
1 8 Matched Bronc Ridin’
2 4 Early Day Rodeos
2 4 Quemado New Mexico Rodeo 1929
2 4 The Rodeo Contestant
2 4 The Cowboy
2 4 Brief Bio on Henry Purvis, Cody, Wyoming
2 4 Is This House A Home
2 4 Cheyenne Frontier Days 1936
2 4 What Happened (to the Scramble Event)
2 4 Wild Mare Milking Conests
2 4 Reflections
2 4 George Tricki Riggles
2 4 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show
2 4 Rodeo Greats
2 4 The Oklahoma Boomers
2 4 Gully Brothers Ranch Rodeo
2 4 Remember Smoky Roberts
2 4 A Rodeo I Can’t Forget
2 4 Buckle Bunnies of Texas
2 4 Rodeo of Yesteryears
2 4 What is a Cowboy???
2 4 Nostalgia
2 4 Ropes
2 4 Colorado Slim Sapp and his wife Lillian
2 4 One Bad Horse
2 4 Old Earnie Eveasen
2 4 1935 Denver Stock Show and Rodeo
2 4 Old Mouldy Memories
2 4 Trick Ropers of 1919
2 4 Yesterday
2 4 Today
2 4 Lucelle Richards
2 4 Reflections
2 4 Belt Buckles
2 4 Old Moudies
2 4 The Bob Cat Twister
2 4 A Clown I Can’t Forget
2 4 Yesteryears
2 4 Jack Favors
2 4 Bob Crosby
2 4 Will James Rockin’ R Ranch
2 4 Two Convicts with Talent
2 4 Reflections
2 4 A Long Time Ago
2 4 Old Mouldie Reflections
2 4 A Good Sale
2 4 Cecil Kennedy
2 4 Old Bert Winsor
2 4 When Contestants Strike a Rodeo
2 4 Reflections
2 4 Howard Tegland and Bonnie McCarrol Pendleton Oregon 1925
2 4 Depression Days in Rodeo
2 4 Trick Ropin’ Story
2 4 Dick Griffth, Mr. Showman
2 4 Old Memories
2 4 Born to Buck
2 4 Old Mouldy Rodeo Memories
2 4 Vaughn Craig Huskey
2 4 1934
2 4 1993
2 4 Trick and Fancy Ropers
2 4 J.W. King
2 4 Cecil Kennedy
2 4 The Dirty Thirties
2 4 Sale Ring Horses
2 4 Reflections
2 4 Rufe Rollens
2 4 Mouldy Old Memories
2 4 Wembly Stadium 1924
2 4 The Passing Scene 1939, 1992
2 4 Old Mouldy Rodeo History
2 4 Rex Allen
2 4 Abe Lefton to My Thinking was the Best Announcer Ever
2 4 The Dirty Thirties in Rodeo
2 4 Bartlesville Oklahoma about 1934
2 4 1940 Brant Neb
2 4 Vaughn Craig
2 4 Old Mouldy Memories in Rodeo
2 4 Bob Crosby Gives an Interview
2 4 Yesteryears
2 4 Rodeo Romance
2 4 Nostalgia
2 4 Christmas of 1966
2 4 Sunday Morning July 24, 1994
2 4 Shorty Ricker
2 4 Circle Diamond
2 4 A Brief on Yesterday and Today
2 4 Rodeo History – 1930 Vintage
2 4 Shorty Ricker
2 4 Yesterdays in Rodeo
2 4 Rodeo History
2 4 Circle Diamond
2 4 History
2 4 History in Rodeo
2 4 Hinton Oklahoma in 1934 or 1935
2 4 Sidney Iowa 1935
2 4 History
2 4 Freak or Novelty Rides of Yesteryear
2 4 Mont T Jones Foreman of the Buffalo Bill T E Ranch
2 4 The Big Money in the 30s
2 4 Tricky Riggles
2 4 Bear Creek Grounds
2 4 Rodeo History
2 4 My Boyhood Days
2 4 Old Rodeo Arenas
2 4 Long A Go
2 4 Ocala Florida 1949
2 4 Hooker Story
2 4 A Bit of History
2 4 A Fancy Trophy 1929 Vintage
2 4 Boots
2 4 Spurs
2 4 Okla Rodeo History
2 4 Bert Windsor
2 4 Old Bert Windsor
2 4 Rollins Broncs as I Remember
2 4 Rodeo History
2 4 Wild Mare Milking Contest
2 4 Stock Contractors that I Knew in the 30s
2 4 The Pottawatomie Indian Fair and Rodeo, Mayetta, Kansas 1932
2 4 Old Circle Diamond
2 4 Some Funnies in Rodeo
2 4 Pretty Prairie Kansas Annual Rodeo
2 4 Where Did They Go?
2 4 Association Saddles
2 4 Some Rodeo History
2 4 Old Time Bronc Riding
2 4 Frank Dean
2 4 Paulene
2 4 Ray Bell
2 4 Traveling the Early Day Rodeos with R. Rollens
2 4 Bonnie McCarroll
2 4 Wild West Shows
2 4 Depression Days of ’28, ’29, and ’30
2 4 Around Rodoe of Yesteryear
2 4 Wild Rides of Yesteryear
2 4 A Visit with Frank Dean
2 4 Bob Crosby
2 4 Bill Dagart
2 4 Bud Pilcher
2 4 Mere Fales
2 4 Bob Shield
2 4 Old Timers
2 4 Downing Boys
2 4 Dick Stanley
2 4 Remembering Irv Munday
2 4 Most All Old Cowboys Smoke Cigarettes
2 4 Reflections
2 4 Howard Tegland
2 4 Chuck Perkins
2 4 Jimmie and Donald Nesbitt
2 5 Wyoming Cowboys Who Have Died in the Range
2 5 Comical Memories
2 5 Mouldy Oldies
2 5 History
2 5 So you Want a Riden Job Do You
2 5 Remembering
2 5 When Cowboys Fight
2 5 Show Man
2 5 Leonard Stroud
2 5 Belle Palmer
2 5 Colorado Slim Sapp and his wife Lillian
2 5 Mouldie Oldie
2 5 Howard Tegland
2 5 Benkelman Nebraska Rodeo 1939
2 5 Ben Johnson
2 5 Mable Welker
2 5 Rodeo Insurance
2 5 Wyoming Has Many Old Cowboys
2 5 History Lost
2 5 Dave Shupp
2 5 Ervan Peterson
2 5 Pete Grubb
2 5 Red Foster
2 5 Saddles
2 5 Great Ropers Long Forgotten Today
2 5 Virgel Miranfy
2 5 Bob Sheild
2 5 Leonard Stroud
2 5 Monte Reger
2 5 CB Irwin’s Wild West Show 1926
2 5 Old Rodeo Tales
2 5 Ralph Skip Glomb
2 5 Jack Dempsey
2 5 Clay McGonagill
2 5 Montie “Hawkeye” Henson
2 5 Enoch Walker
2 5 David Appleton
2 5 Coffee and Vittles
2 5 Beef
2 5 A Long Winter
2 5 Chuck Perkins
2 5 Abe Lefton
2 5 David Appleton
2 5 Joe and Johnny Evans
2 5 David Shipp
2 5 Larry Jordan
2 5 Micky Hicks
2 5 Fred Rush
2 5 Clyde Frost
2 5 Iron Mike Hastings
2 5 Bill Buschbom
2 5 Johnny Judd
2 5 Olen Weaver
2 5 Dorothy McDonald
2 5 Don Bell
2 5 Bucking Horses of Yesteryear
2 5 Dennis Rule
2 5 From Don Bell’s Corral
2 5 Clyde Miller
2 5 Merle Fales of Cody, Wyoming
2 5 Trickie Riggles
2 5 A Super Bad Mule!
2 5 Leonard Stroud
2 5 Dale Ring Horse Auction
2 5 My Old Hamley Contest Saddle
2 5 Rodeo Historical Society
2 5 The PBR
2 5 CTA
2 5 Howard Tegland
2 5 Depression Days
2 5 Some Rodeo History Back in the ’30s
2 5 Cow Girls
2 5 Crumberly Annie
2 5 Joe Lewis
2 5 Those Belovable Animal Rights
2 5 Mouldy Oldie
2 5 Mouldy Oldie
2 5 Young Cowboys
2 5 Gullies Ranch Rodeo 1925
2 5 Reflections
2 5 College of Hard Knocks
2 5 Oldies
2 5 Before Computers
2 5 John and Joe Evans
2 5 Old Wild West Shows as I Recall
2 5 Black Contestants
2 5 Two Monte Hensons
2 5 Enoch Walker
2 5 From Don Bell’s Corral
2 5 Big Gun
2 5 Stock Contractors
2 5 Rodeo Historical Society
2 5 Herman Linder
2 5 This and That
2 5 Armitice Day 1918
2 5 Donating Saddle and Boots to the Smithsonian
2 5 Old Mouldies
2 5 Wray Colorado 196
2 5 The Garden City Kansas Cattlemens Carnival 1923
2 5 Yesteryears
2 5 Every Range Cowboy Has His Bed Roll
2 5 Memories
2 5 Wild Horse Race
2 5 Homer Holcomb
2 5 Leonard Stroud Rodeos
2 5 Virgil Miranda
2 5 Lyle Cotteral
2 5 Mike Hastings
2 5 Juanita Grey
2 5 Ernie Evenson
2 5 CB Irwin Wild West Show
2 5 John Like and Bill King
2 5 The Tack Room
2 5 Remembering My Yesteryears
2 5 Rodeo Historical Society
2 5 Memories of Early Day Rodeos
2 5 Summer Vacation
2 5 Buckin’ Horses
2 5 Earl Anderson

Photographs – 1910-1997

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
1 7 Don Bell, 1910-1983 and u.d.
1 2 Rodeo,1931-1990 and u.d.
1 1 Rufus Rollens, 1916 and u.d.
2 1-2 Photographs, 1938-1983 and u.d.
2 3 Photographic postcards, 1912-1945
1 14 Transparencies of art by Skip Glomb, 1997

Published Materials – 1954-2002

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
1 3 The Representative Old Cowboy Ed Wright by Old Cowboy Ed Wright, 1954
1 4 Reflections of a Cowboy by Don Bell, 1990
1 4 Poems by Betty Berryman, 1990
1 4 Old Cowboys Never Die by Everett Brisendine, 1984
1 5 Cowpuncher Poetry: A Collection of Campfire Stories edited by Nancy Curtis, 1986
1 5 Everyday Poetry by the Greenhorn by Otha I. Edwards, 1990
1 5 Splatterings from a Greenhorn’s Pen: no. II by Otha I. Edwards, 1992
1 6 Paul Hennessey: Cowboy Poet of South Dakota by Paul Hennessey, 1972
1 6 Rhymes of the Range Land by Bob Johnston, n.d.
1 6 Stories and Poems by Bob Johnston, 1984
1 6 JEMs from My Heart by Janie Mills, 1998
1 6 Echoes in the Wind by Echo Roy, 1993
1 9 Legend of the Rawhide Buttes, Niobrara County Fair, August 23-25, 1946, reprint 1986
1 12 Newspaper clippings, 1950-2002
1 13 Sports Illustrated, December23-30, 1985; Bell article on pages 102-3

Collected Poems – 1978-2002

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
2 3 Poems, 1978-2002

Cowboys Turtle Association Rosters – 1938, 1940

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
1 10 Cowboys Turtle Association rosters, 1938, 1940

Merle Fales Cowboy Anecdotes –

Box Folder Folder Title / Description
1 11 Merle Fales cowboy anecdotes, 2001 and n.d.
Please follow and like us:
Adventure District
AAM
Adventure Road
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
WordPress Image Lightbox