This collection features several portrait proofs of Donald Nesbitt by Distinctive Portraiture of Denver, Colorado. Nesbitt was a well-known rodeo contestant in five of the major rodeo events and was one of the first rodeo honorees to be inducted in the Rodeo Hall of Fame, in 1955.
Nesbitt was born on May 15, 1907, and raised on his father’s ranch situated in Old Everetts, South Dakota. His parents were William H. Nesbitt and Lucy A. Howell Nesbitt. He came into possession of the first peace pipe smoked between the Sioux and the whites, which was given to his father by Mad Bear.
Even at the age of ten he and his brother were breaking wild horses for their father. Don naturally went a step further into the saddle bronc riding competitions.
He was a well-known contestant at the Frontier Days in Cheyenne, the Pendleton Round-Up, the Calgary Stampede in Canada, rodeos in Chicago and New York, and the big 33 day London, England show. He participated in the five major rodeo events: bulldogging, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, bareback bronc riding, and bull riding. In 1932, he won the World Champion All-Around Cowboy honor.
He rode Midnight and 5 Minutes to Midnight, two of the greatest rodeo broncs that lived. Nesbitt wrote the eulogies for these horses which were soon after interred in the gardens at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
In the 1930s Nesbitt began working for the rodeo producer McCarty and Elliott Company. After fifteen years of bronc riding, Nesbitt retired in 1936 to judge most of the McCarty and Elliott Company produced rodeo shows. Don Nesbitt died in 1988. He was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1955.
“Profile West: Don Nesbitt.” Eastern/Western Quarter Horse Journal, June 1977.
See Also: Donald Nesbitt Rodeo Honoree Vertical File which includes articles, photographs, and correspondence.
Scope & Content Note
The collection contains one rodeo postcard that has been cut into the shape of a heart, in addition to five 14×10 photographic proofs of Donald Nesbitt.
Nesbitt, Donald, 1907-1988
This collection was accessioned on August 27, 1980. A scope and content note was written by librarian Karen Spilman in February 2003. The current finding aid was written and posted online by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller in October 2009.
The Donald Nesbitt Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Donald Nesbitt Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
|Series 1: Don Nesbitt Collection|
|Box/Folder #||Accession #||Description|
|01/05||R.219.6||“Don Nesbitt.” Fourche, SD. Ralph R. Doubleday, photographer. Photographic postcard was cut into a heart shape.|
|R.219.1||Don Nesbitt. Lainson, Distinctive Portraiture, Brown Palace, Denver, CO. Photographic portrait proof, b&w, 10 x 14 in.|
|R.219.2||Don Nesbitt. Lainson, Distinctive Portraiture, Brown Palace, Denver, CO. Photographic portrait proof, b&w, 10 x 14 in.|
|R.219.3||Don Nesbitt. Lainson, Distinctive Portraiture, Brown Palace, Denver, CO. Photographic portrait proof, b&w, 10 x 14 in.|
|R.219.5||Don Nesbitt. Lainson, Distinctive Portraiture, Brown Palace, Denver, CO. Photographic portrait proof, b&w, 10 x 14 in. (Bottom right-hand corner is clipped.)|