University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Erwin Evans Smith Photographs, ca. 1905-1910s

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Smith, Erwin E. (Erwin Evans), 1886-1947
Title: Erwin Evans Smith Photographs,
Dates: ca. 1905-1910s
Abstract: The collection consists of 109 black and white prints. Images are of ranch life and cowboys.
Accession No.: 2004-102
Extent: 109 black and white photographs.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Erwin Evan Smith was born on August 22, 1886, in Honey Grove, Texas. Smith’s family relocated to Bonham, a small town in North Texas, when he was a child and he was introduced to cowboys and cattle ranching. Ranching fascinated Smith as a boy; he often painted or sketched elements of ranch life. When he went to work as a cowhand in his teenage years, he carried a camera with him to document the lives of cowboys.

In 1904 Smith left Texas for Chicago, where he studied sculpture under Lorado Taft. He also studied under Bella Lyon Pratt in Boston during the early 1900s, but he often returned to the Southwest to photograph ranchers and cowboys. In 1908, 40 of his photographs were shown in Boston; the success of the show led to a collaboration with the Sunday editor of the Boston Herald, George Pattullo. Pattullo wrote western stories that were published in popular magazines and accompanied by Smith’s photographs.

In 1914 Smith returned to Texas to start his own ranch. The ranch failed, however, and he was bankrupt by 1917. He spent the remainder of his life living quietly outside of Bonham, where he died on Sept. 4, 1947.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 109 black and white prints. Images are of ranching and cowboys. All but two of the prints (those in 3S236) were purchased by the Texas Memorial Museum for the 1936 Texas Centennial and were selected by Erwin Smith. He also supervised the printing process. The 107 prints originally purchased by the Texas Memorial Museum were accessioned by the Center for American History in 2004.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Use Restrictions

The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, houses Erwin E. Smith’s papers and photographic negatives, many of which are on deposit from the Library of Congress. The Amon Carter Museum administers the reproduction rights for the Erwin E. Smith Foundation. All Erwin Smith images are copyrighted by the Erwin E. Smith Foundation. For any reproduction requests, please contact the Registrar’s Office at the Amon Carter Museum, 3501 Camp Bowie, Fort Worth, Texas, 76107.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Smith, Erwin E. (Erwin Evans), 1886-1947
Cattle herding
Cattle ranching

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Erwin Evans Smith Photographs, ca. 1905-1910s, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2W80 Head portrait of a cowboy
"Cowboy," cowboy on horse
"Range boss on Old Blue"
"Changing Mounts at the Wagon"
"Biting the dust"
"Spur Cowboy - Changing Mounts at Headquarters"
"Riding him slick and clean"
"Saddle off and a horse down"
"Stretching One Out"
"Starting Home"
"Stretching Out a Steer"
"The Trail Herd (?) - Flankers"
Cowboy on a white horse (foreground); other cowboys and herd
Matador headquarters
"Sourdough for dinner"
"999 Strawboss"
"Cattle inspector"
"Back to the Herd"
"The Chuck Wagon"
Cowboy with rifle and two horses
Cowboy astride horse that is drinking from pond
"Chuck Wagon on the Move"
"Come and Get It"
"Two OR Wagons Camp Together"
"Cleaning Up"
"Long Shadows and Early Supper"
"Shoe Bar Catching Horses"
"Throwing the Drive on the Roundup Group"
"Picking His Matador Cow"
"Holding an LS Herd"
""Dragging One to the Fire"
"Flanking a Big One"
"Stretching One Out"
"Bedded Down Day Rest"
"Counting Them Out"
"LS Herd - Staking His Night Horse"
"Horse wrangler"
"An OR Hand Ties Up a Hoof and Saddles a Wild One"
"A Setting on His Tree"
2W82 "Coming Back Down the Cattle Trail"
"Coming Into Camp"
"Clog Dance on the OR"
"Catching a Matador Outlaw"
"Hobbling an Outlaw Steer"
"Bringing the Herd to a Wild One"
"Fighting Stock"
"Taking Care of Cows"
"OR Range Cattle"
"The symbol of Texas"
"The Nester at the Waterhole"
"Sun and Shade"
"Still in the Sun"
2W83 "LS Puncher"
"Smearing His Loop on a Wild One"
"The Roper"
"The Driving Coming In - Matador Ranch"
"The OR Open Range"
"Winter on the Ranch"
"Pitching Camp"
"Sourdough for Dinner"
"The Day Herder Comes in to Eat
"Spur Boys Enjoying a Roast"
"Breakfast at 4 AM on the JA"
2W84 "OR Boss Telling Off the Riders"
"The Drive"
"Day Herd on the Spurs"
"Cutting Her Out"
"A Read Cutting Horse Turning on a Dime"
"Hot Iron and Sharp Knife"
"Down at Last"
"Anxiety of Mother Cows"
2W85 "A Day Herder"
"Talling for the Trail"
"Herd Formation"
"Matadors on the Trail"
"In the Dust of the Drags"
"Then Barbed Wire Played Hell with Texas"
"Saddle Horses"
"Day Herding the Remuda"
"Little Joe the Wrangler"
"Smearing His Loop on a Wild One"
"Matador Remuda"
2W86 "Sunnin' His Sides"
"The Bronk [sic] Buster"
"A Leavin Cheyenne"
"Packing Their Bed"
"Leaving for Work"
"Going off the Cap-Rock"
"The Remuda"
"Mumble Peg on the 999"
"Hunting Season at Hand"
2W87 "Coming Up to the Hitching Rock at Old Tacosa"
"Settling the Dust at Old Tacosa"
"OR Boys"
"Turning Him into the Gentle Bunch"
"Turning One Loose"
"Picking Up His Heels"
"Range Branding"
"Odd Jobs in Camp"
"A Pet Horse Gets His Biscuit"
"Range Manager"
"Matador Outfit in the Eighties"
3S236 "Pulling Leather"
"Bronc Buster"