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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Arrangement of the Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Owen Wister photograph collection, 1893, undated,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Owen Wister:

An Inventory of the Owen Wister Photograph Collection at the Texas State Archives, 1893, undated



Overview

Creator: Wister, Owen, 1860-1938
Title: Owen Wister photograph collection
Dates: 1893, undated
Abstract: Owen Wister (1860-1938) was a prominent American writer during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is best known for his western stories, particularly his novel The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (1902). The collection includes 115 images taken by Wister during his trip to Texas in 1893. Dates covered are 1893, undated. Prominent in the collection are Texas ranch scenes from the Savage, Colton and Conover ranches, as well as the San Antonio missions of Concepción de Acuña and San José. Subjects covered include cowboys, horses, polo ponies, polo players and games, stables, architecture, the San Fernando cathedral in San Antonio, towns, residents, and landscape. These materials have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.
Quantity: 1.25 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Biographical Sketch

Owen Wister was born in Germantown (now part of Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, on July 14, 1860 to a distinguished family. His father, Dr. Owen Jones Wister, was a physician, and his mother, Sarah Butler, was a magazine writer. His mother was the daughter of English actress, Fanny Kemble, and Pierce Butler, who was a descendant of the Butlers of South Carolina who signed the Constitution of the United States. An only child, Wister studied at boarding schools in New England and Switzerland before enrolling in St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire in 1873. He entered Harvard in 1878, where he developed a reputation for musical composition and dramatic writing. Wister also made lifelong friends at Harvard, most prominently future President Theodore Roosevelt, future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, and future Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. He graduated in 1882, and spent a year studying music and trying for a career as a composer in Paris. He returned home in 1883 to take a position at the Union Safe Deposit Vault computing interest. A year later, he returned to Harvard for a law degree and graduated in 1888. He was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar and briefly practiced law at Francis Rawle's law firm.

In 1885, he suffered an illness and was advised by his doctor, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, to travel west to restore his health. He traveled to Wyoming and spent the summer at the V.R. Ranch of Major Frank Wolcott. He began to regain his health and became interested in the American West. Wister made five trips to the West between 1885 and 1891. He kept an account of his observations and interactions in diaries, which provided material for his western works. In 1891, Owen Wister wrote his first two western short stories: Hank's Woman and How Lin McLean Went East. Both of these stories appeared in Harper's Weekly. Encouraged by the success of these stories, he gave up law and became a full-time writer in 1893. In February 1893, Wister and a friend, Harry C. Groome, made a trip to Texas, where they remained till the latter part of March. They were met at Brownwood, Texas, by Wister's friends from Philadelphia, Fitzhugh Savage and Frank Conover. From Brownwood, they drove to Brady City (now Brady), and from there to Savage's ranch, Seven Springs. Though the trip was for pleasure, Wister spent considerable time riding about the country, talking to old cowhands and compiling a dictionary of Texas vocabulary. In addition, he took pictures of life on the Savage, Conover and Colton ranches, polo ponies, polo players and games, the cowboy bachelor experience, informal portraits, the landscape of neighboring areas, and several San Antonio missions.

He began work on his novel The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains, in 1901. It is believed that at least one chapter of this book came directly from a tale about baby swapping told to him by a Texas cowboy during his Texas trip. The book, published in 1902, sold nearly 200,000 copies its first year. Wister also adapted it successfully for Broadway. At least five movies and one television series have since been made, and the book has never been out of print. His novel is believed by some to be the template on which every western since has been cut. Wister had a prolific literary career but had other interests as well. In 1908, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Philadelphia City Council. He was a member of Harvard University's Board of Overseers and president of both the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Club. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (1907), Williams College (1912), and Duke University (1915).

Wister married his second cousin, Mary Channing, in 1898. His wife was a member of the Philadelphia board of education, a founder of the Civic Club of Philadelphia, and defender of women's rights. They had six children. She died in 1913. Wister died at his summer home in Saunderstown, Rhode Island on July 21, 1938.

(Sources include: Freeman, Castle Jr. "Owen Wister: Brief life of a Western mythmaker: 1860-1938,"Harvard Magazine (July-August 2002): 42-43, http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2002/07-pdfs/0702-42.pdf; Grimes, Jack. "Owen Wister: Photographer,"Texas Libraries 31, no. 3 (1969): 130-133; Jalowitz, Alan. "Owen Wister: Biography." The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, http://pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Wister__Owen.html; Howard Payne Yellow Jacket (Brownwood, Texas). "Where the Twain Met." January 21, 1937, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth102318/m1/4/zoom/; Wister, Fanny Kemble, ed. Owen Wister Out West: His Journals and Letters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958; all websites viewed on July 20, 2012.)

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Owen Wister (1860-1938) was a prominent American writer during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is best known for his western stories, particularly his novel The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (1902). The collection comprises 115 photographs taken by Wister during his trip to Texas in 1893. Dates covered are 1893, undated. The collection was presented to the State Archives by his daughter, Mrs. (Walter) Frances Kemble Wister Stokes, in 1969 in two batches. The first batch included 91 mounted vintage snapshot pictures, and reflect titles and numbers provided by Wister in his own handwriting. Supplementary descriptive information has been added to the inventory in brackets. The second batch was originally comprised of 24 cellulose nitrate negatives exposed by Wister during his travels to Texas, the West and Southwest. Modern prints were made from the negatives by the State Archives' contract photographer, Bill Malone. The prints also include three duplicates of images from the first batch. Copy negatives have since been made from the modern prints.

Prominent in the collection are Texas ranch scenes from the Savage, Colton and Conover ranches, and the San Antonio missions of Concepción de Acuña and San José. Subjects covered include cowboys, horses, polo ponies, polo players and games, stables, architecture, the San Fernando cathedral in San Antonio, towns, residents, and landscape. A large part of the landscape pictures are believed to have been taken in Texas, while the rest depicting more mountainous terrain could have been taken in either Arizona or Wyoming. While in Texas, Wister stayed at the Seven Springs ranch near Brady City that belonged to his friend from Philadelphia, Fitzhugh Savage.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The images are arranged alphabetically by place name as identified by the creator.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives research room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Researchers are required to use gloves provided by the State Archives when reviewing photographic material.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Subjects:
Ranches--Texas--Pictorial works.
Horses--Texas--Pictorial works.
Landscapes--Texas--Pictorial works.
Missions--Texas--Pictorial works.
Cowboys--Texas--Pictorial works.
Architecture--Texas--Pictorial works.
Places:
San Antonio (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Brownwood (Tex.)--Pictorial works.
Texas--Pictorial works.
West (U.S.)--Pictorial works.
Document Types:
Photographs--Texas--1893, undated.
Negatives--Texas--1893, undated.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
None.
Publications
Grimes, Jack. "Owen Wister: Photographer,"Texas Libraries 31, no. 3 (1969): 130-133.
Wister, Fanny Kemble, ed. Owen Wister Out West: His Journals and Letters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Owen Wister photograph collection. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1969/072, 1969/097

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by Mrs. (Walter) Frances Kemble Wister Stokes.

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory and notes by John Anderson in May 1989

Scanning and data entry of images into database by John Anderson and Russell Holley-Hurt in July 2012

EAD finding aid prepared by Aditi Worcester in July 2012

Texas Digital Archives link and box inventory added by Halley Grogan, August 2016

Other Formats for the Collection

Photographs described in this finding aid have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive, available online at https://tsl.access.preservica.com/tda/prints-and-photo-collections/owen-wister-photograph-collection/.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Owen Wister photograph collection, 1893, undated,
1.25 cubic ft.

Box Photo
PP0176 1969/072-1 Looking Down Brady. Saddled horse standing in Brady Creek bed; photographer's shadow in foreground, 1893
1969/072-2 Looking Down Brady, 1893
[Note: Copy photo of 1968/072-1.]
1969/072-3 On Little Brady. Two riders on horseback in the little Brady Creek bed, 1893
1969/072-4 A Texas Home. Near Big Brady. Rough cut wooden shack and tent, 1893
1969/072-5 A Texas Home. Near Big Brady, 1893
[Note: Copy of 1969/072-4.]
1969/072-6 Near Savage's Ranche. Riders taking a break on rangeland, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-7 Near Savage's Ranche. View of rolling rangeland, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-8 Near Savage's Ranche. View of rolling rangeland, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-9 New House. Savage's Ranche. Saltbox, frame house surrounded by rough picket fence, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-10 New House. Savage's Ranche, Brownwood, 1893
[Note: Copy of 1969/072-9.]
1969/072-11 Polo Ponies. Savage's Corral, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-12 Skidmore - Savage's Ranche. Portrait of a horse standing in a corral, Brownwood, 1893
1969/072-13 Cathedral. San Antonio. View of San Fernando Cathedral from across plaza, 1893
1969/072-14 Cathedral. San Antonio, 1893
[Note: Copy of 1969/072-13.]
1969/072-15 First Mission. San Antonio. Concepcion De Acuna, view from side, cluttered yard in foreground, 1893
1969/072-16 First Mission. San Antonio, 1893
[Note: Copy of 1969/072-14.]
1969/072-17 First Mission. San Antonio. Concepcion De Acuna, view from front showing well, 1893
1969/072-18 First Mission. San Antonio. Concepcion De Acuna, detail view of front, 1893
1969/072-19 Second Mission. San Antonio. San Jose Mission, view from front, 1893
1969/072-20 Second Mission. San Antonio, 1893
[Note: Copy of 1969/072-19.]
1969/072-21 Second Mission. San Antonio. San Jose Mission, view from rear, March 26, 1893
1969/072-22 Second Mission. San Antonio. San Jose Mission, view from side, 1893
1969/072-23 Second Mission. San Antonio. San Jose Mission, view of arches in ruins, 1893
1969/072-24 Windowed Second Mission. San Antonio. San Jose Mission detail, 1893
1969/072-25 Colton's Ranche. View of the ranch buildings and shelter belt from a distance, 1893
1969/072-26 Cattle Troughs at Colton's Ranche Windmill, tank, and corral, 1893
1969/072-27 Cattle Troughs at Colton's Ranche Windmill, tank, and corral, 1893
[Note: Copy photo of 1969/072-26.]
1969/072-28 Near Colton's Ranche. View of scrub and rangeland, 1893
1969/072-29 Near Colton's Ranche. Animals grazing beneath trees, 1893
1969/072-30 Polo Ponies In Corral. Colton's Ranche, 1893
Box Photo
PP0177 1969/072-31 Polo Ponies In Corral. Colton's Ranche, 1893
[Note: Copy photo of 1969/072-30.]
1969/072-32 [Untitled] Portrait of Horse Standing In Corral, 1893
1969/072-33 An Old Servant. Profile portrait of a saddled horse, prickly pear in background, 1893
1969/072-34 [Untitled] Horses tied to a hitching rail, ranch house in background tied, 1893
1969/072-35 Preparing For A Remedy. Group of men lassoing a horse in need of treatment, 1893
1969/072-36 Further Preparations. Group of men treating a horse on the ground, 1893
1969/072-37 [Untitled] Men and horses posed at ranch house, 1893
[Note: Multiple exposure - main image?.]
1969/072-38 [Untitled] Faded view of prairie land, 1893
1969/072-39 [Untitled] Scrub rangeland; tent in distance; heavy pencil retouching of erosion in foreground; Printed from damaged negative, 1893
1969/072-40 Spanish Dagger. Close up of a flowering yucca, 1893
1969/072-41 Bill and His Pony. Bill Montgomery? posed in corral with horse, 1893
1969/072-42 Bleeding. Two men treating a horse on the ground; ranch house behind, 1893
1969/072-43 Polo at Savage's. Action view, 1893
1969/072-44 D. Fitzhugh Savage. Man in Western dress posed on a porch, 1893
1969/072-45 Study In The Nude For World's Fair (Texas Exhibit). Man bathing in river, 1893
1969/072-46 [Untitled] Ranch house; man standing by adjoining shack, shade trees in foreground, 1893
1969/072-47 [Untitled] Two men posed seated in front of a tent; hills in background, 1893
1969/072-48 [Untitled] Polo players waiting for official to toss ball into play, 1893
1969/072-49 Old House, Savage's Ranche. View of one end, 1893
1969/072-50 Near Colton's Ranche. Two trees on rangeland, 1893
1969/072-51 Antonio. Hispanic man holding a taut rope (attached to a horse?), 1893
1969/072-52 [Untitled] Ranch house and grounds, 1893
1969/072-53 [Untitled] Irrigation ditch, 1893
1969/072-54 Brady 'Mountain' - Near Colton's Ranche. Mesa and rangeland below, 1893
1969/072-55 Homer. Savage's black cook and domestic employee posed standing in a cabin door, wearing apron, 1893
Box Photo
PP0178 1969/072-56 S.W. Colton. Posed by a tree, next to a draft horse, 1893
1969/072-57 S.W. Colton. Posed standing on a porch, 1893
1969/072-58 R.F. Conover. Posed standing next to horse, 1893
1969/072-59 Polo Field. Savage's Ranche. Riders posed on field, 1893
1969/072-60 Ready? Colton's Polo Field. Riders with raised mallets waiting for ball to be thrown into play, 1893
1969/072-61 [Untitled] Man posed standing next to his horse, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-62 [Untitled] View of ranch house, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-63 [Untitled] Four horsemen posed in front of a masonry structure, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-64 [Untitled] Three men (hunters?); one with binoculars, one with firearm sitting, one looking from a ridge, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-65 93. View of a valley, water in foreground, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-66 Catching Ponies For Polo. In corrals; small boy in foreground, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-67 Dick Conover's Ranche. Texas. 1893. Ranch house, tree, horse, and cart in foreground, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-68 Old and New House. Savage's Ranche. Tree in foreground, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-69 New House. Savage's Ranche. Salt box surrounded by rough cut picket fence, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-70 Plains From Brady 'Mountain' Near Colton's Ranche, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-71 F.S. Conover - And Guest. Two men posed on porch with dog, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-72 He's Got Bots. Group of men looking at a roped horse (afflicted with parasitic botfly larvae?), Brady, Texas, March 3, 1893
1969/072-73 Polo at Savage's Ranche. Riders in motion, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-74 Riding To Polo. Colton's Ranche. Two riders leading their ponies, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-75 Shakespeare. Young man posed with a saddled horse, Brady, Texas, 1893
Box Photo
PP0179 1969/072-76 The Morning After. Three men with towels passing through a gate (to the river), Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-77 Equestrian Statue For World's Fair (Texas Exhibit). Rider posing holding polo mallet, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-78 Bridget's Colt. Man smoking pipe posing with colt in picket corral, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-79 Near Savage's. View of scrub rangeland, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-80 The Boar's Nest And Stables. Savage's Ranch. Name given to hand's bunkhouse, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-81 Skidmore. Profile portrait of horse posed in a corral, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-82 The Owner And His Property - Going! Ranch hands with horse afflicted with botfly on the ground, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-83 The Umpire. Savage's Ranche. Polo umpire posed on horseback, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-84 [Untitled] Masonry and stucco ranch buildings, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-85 Polo Ponies In Corral. Savage's Ranche. Ponies in corral, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-86 [Untitled] View of ranch buildings in a grove of trees, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-87 [Untitled] A meadow between two groves, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-88 Bridget's Colt. Man smoking pipe holding colt's head and mane, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-89 The Swimming Hole. Savage' Ranch. Man standing on bank above water, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-90 Gone! Ranch hand standing over fallen horse afflicted with botfly (was titled Past Cure), Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/072-91 Homer. Savage's Black cook and domestic employee standing outside by corral; wearing apron and smoking a pipe, Brady, Texas, 1893
Box Photo
PP0180 1969/097-1 Homer. Fitzhugh Savage's black cook and domestic employee, Brady, Texas, 1893
1969/097-2 Old Man With Dog Posed Outdoors By Log Fence; Hills In Background, Brady, Texas, about 1895
1969/097-3 Four Indian People and Dog Sitting On Grassy Prairie, about 1895
1969/097-4 Indian Man And Boy Posed Standing Outdoors In Front Of Plastered Wall, 1895
1969/097-5 Bridget's Colt, Brady, Texas, 1893
[Note: Same image as 1967/072-88.]
1969/097-6 Two Men With Pack Horses In Woods - Packs In Foreground, about 1895
1969/097-7 Cowboy Posed On Horseback In A Corral, about 1895
1969/097-8 Man On Horseback Posed On Road, about 1895
1969/097-9 Three Men Tugging On A Rope On A Brushy Hillside, about 1895
1969/097-10 Texas Volunteer Guard. Cavalry riding through a dry valley, mountains in background, about 1895
1969/097-11 Indian Law Officer And Others Posed At Portal Of Fort/Settlement In Desert/Southwest, about 1895
1969/097-12 Indian People And Anglo Man Standing Outside Log Building In Desert Southwest, about 1895
1969/097-13 River Running Through Wooded Mountains - Probably Arizona or Wyoming, about 1895
1969/097-14 Scrub Rangeland With Hills; Peaks In Background, about 1895
1969/097-15 River And Flood Plain Between Hills, about 1895
1969/097-16 Bend In River In Wooded Mountains, about 1895
1969/097-17 Fallen Tree In A Meadow And Mountain- Peak In Background, about 1895
1969/097-18 Two Men On Horseback At A Rocky Watering Hole, about 1895
1969/097-19 Two Men On Horseback Riding Up A Dry Creek Bed; Rock Formation On Side, about 1895
1969/097-20 Pronghorn Antelope Sitting In A Meadow, about 1895
1969/097-21 Saddle Horse Standing In Mountain Meadow, Looking Towards Camera, about 1895
1969/097-22 Saddle Horse Tied To Log Cabin With Sod Roof, about 1895
1969/097-23 Three Riders And Train Of Pack Horses Crossing A River; Wooded Hills In Background, about 1895
1969/097-24 Polo Ponies In Corral. Savage's Ranche, Brady, Texas, 1893
[Note: Same image as 1969/072-85.]

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