The Day – July 14

The Day – July 14

Holidays and observances

The Day – USA: July 14

National Grand Marnier Day
National Tape Measure Day
National Nude Day
National Mac and Cheese Day
Collector Car Appreciation Day – Changes Annually
National Pandemonium Day
National Shark Awareness Day

The Day in US History: July 14

Owen Wister and Cowboy Culture

Cowboy
Cowboy on Cattle Ranch near Spur, Texas,
Russell Lee, photographer, May 1939.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945

Whatever he did, he did with his might. The bread that he earned was earned hard, the wages that he squandered were squandered hard….If he gave his word, he kept it.Owen Wister, The Virginian, 1902

Novelist Owen Wister was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, on July 14, 1860. His 1902 novel The Virginian helped create the myth of the American cowboy. Reared and educated on the east coast, Wister first visited the West in 1885. Set in Medicine Bow, Wyoming, The Virginian‘s tender romance between a refined Eastern schoolteacher and a rough-and-tumble cowhand, with its climactic pistol gunfight, introduced themes now standard to the American Western.

Literary Map: The Virginian from America's First Western Novel Written by Owen Wister
The Virginian from America’s First Western Novel Written by Owen Wister,
Everett Henry, illustrator,
Cleveland: Harris-Intertype, 1962.
Geography & Map Division
From the exhibition
Language of the Land: Journeys into Literary America
This literary map shows key scenes from Wister’s novel against the backdrop of a map of the novel’s “landscape.”

A popular fascination with the disappearing frontier laid the foundation of the Western’s success. Former Indian scout Buffalo Bill Cody capitalized on this interest when he brought the Wild West east in 1883. With a cast of 100 cowboys and Indians, sharpshooter Annie Oakley, and a menagerie of wild animals, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West paraded and played for packed audiences into the twentieth century.

From the outset, the cowboy was a stock character of the motion picture industry. The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920 features two early movies with cowboy motifs. A Frontier Flirtation (1903) presents the cowboy as a questionable character, unsuited to court a lady, while the no-nonsense gunslinger of Alphonse and Gaston cuts short the lead characters’ exaggerated civilities.

The Great Train Robbery (1903), included in the collection Inventing Entertainment: The Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, was shot in the Edison New York studio and in New Jersey at Essex County Park and at the Lackawanna Railway. The bandit leader was played by Justus D. Barnes, and G. M. Anderson, later better-known as Bronco Billy, played a variety of roles. In 1905, Edison parodied The Great Train Robbery in The Little Train Robbery, employing a cast of child actors.

Buckaroo Theodore Brown Parts a Cow from the Herd
Buckaroo Theodore Brown Parts a Cow from the Herd,
Ninety-Six Ranch, Paradise Valley, Nevada,
recorded by Margaret Purser and Carl Fleischhauer, October 10, 1979.
Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982

Real cowboy culture faded, just as the popular image of the American cowboy became more sharply defined in films, songs, and inexpensive “pulp” Western magazines. From 1978 to 1982, the Library of Congress American Folklife Center employed a team of researchers to document what remained of traditional life on the range. The project focused on Nevada cattle ranching and the work of “buckaroos,” as cowboys commonly are called in that region.

Hat, Neckerchief, and Boots
Hat, Neckerchief, and Boots,
Alfred Harrell, photographer,
October 1980.
Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945-1982

Learn more about cowboys and the Wild West in American Memory:

The Cowboy’s Lament,”
E. A. Briggs, performer,
Medina, Texas, May 5, 1939.
Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

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Home on the Range,”
James Richardson, performer,
Raiford, Florida, June 3, 1939.
Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip

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MP3 Format

wav Format

The Day in History – July 14-External Links

The Day’s Weather in History
The Day in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
The Day’s Document from the National Archives
The Day’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
The Day in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – The Day’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
The Day in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia