From the Collection: Postcards

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I have over 100 pieces of dude ranch memorabilia in a collection I started about 10 years ago. Some of my favorite pieces are the postcards, because they are all so different and present very different messages about dude ranching.

The card pictured above is the oldest one I have and dates to about 1910. It’s a pretty basic piece of advertising: the name of the ranch, information about what you can do there, with a fun cowboy image to spice it up.

Here’s the next oldest card, and it features wild activity on America’s first dude ranch: Eatons’, in Wolf Wyoming. Someone with the initials DEJ sent this card to an Alan Jackman in Southhampton, England in October of 1917. The message reads, “Frontier Day at the Ranch. Bill Eaton roping three horses at once.”

Many of the postcards are generic images of things you can do on a dude ranch. This one, from the 1940s, shows what happens in the morning: saddlin’ up for the day’s trail ride.

Here’s one of my favorites. It’s a group of dudes in the living room of the main lodge at the Drowsy Water Ranch in Granby, Colorado in 1952. “Bill” wrote this message to a lady friend in Westwood, New Jersey: “This is a real evening of fun, western style.”

Railroads used to print up and distribute postcards to drum up business for their passenger service, which brought in a lot more money than carrying freight. This one advertises the many dude ranches in southern Arizona in the 1940s.

Consumer product companies used dude ranch imagery in their advertising postcards. Here, the Chrysler Corporation touts its Plymouth sedan in the 1930s, much admired by dudes.

Then there’s the “Dude Ranch Comics” series from the 1930s-1940s. These were created by Curt Teich & Co. of Chicago, famous for creating the “Greetings From” series of state cards. The dude ranch collection included 10 different illustrated postcards featuring goofy images of dude ranch life, often making fun of the eastern dudines who came out West looking for cowboy romance.

Other companies copied this idea and took it a little farther.

Finally, here’s the most unusual postcard in my collection: a cowboy hat-shaped item created by the Wickenburg, Arizona Round Up Club in 1950.

3 thoughts on “From the Collection: Postcards

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