1951-1957. Evelyn C. Cole Photograph Collection, 1951-1957
27 photographs, all with typed captions (and one with handwritten caption as well) on the versos. Very Good condition.
This is a small collection of photographs of Evelyn C. Cole, “the Cowgirl artist” and some of her artworks. Evelyn Cole lived and made art in Chinook, Montana and was best known for her seven-foot sculpture of famed western artist Charlie Russell. This work was rejected as Montana's entry for the Hall of Statuary in the U.S. Capitol because Russell was sculpted wearing a hat. A 1957 news article we found online quoted Cole in her decision: “I couldn’t disgrace Charlie, I have too much respect for him to leave his hat off.” Cole created paintings, sculptures and unique pieces including two tents she decorated for local girls who attended the first ever national Girl Scout Senior Roundup in 1956. A large Cole painting has also hung in the local grocery store since 1964. She died in 1984.
This collection includes an envelope from Eklund’s Studio, Great Falls, Montana, addressed to Carl S. Dentzel of Northridge, California, and the typed captions on the versos are courtesy of Dentzel. Carl Dentzel served as editor and writer for the Northridge Herald and The Federalist, and as president of the Northridge Chamber of Commerce. He had a lifelong interest in the Southwest, working to preserve its unique Native American, Spanish and Mexican heritage history. He wrote and spoke often on the importance of American cooperation with Latin America during periods of civil unrest, and served as Director of the Southwest Museum from 1956 to 1981. Dentzel was also dedicated to preserving the landmarks of Los Angeles, and played a major role in founding the city's Cultural Heritage Board in 1962.
The photographs include two color shots of Cole posing proudly in front of her Charles Russell statue, one with Dentzel in front of the Rainbow Hotel in Great Falls, Montana in 1957. There is a great portrait photo of Cole, and another of Jessie Lincoln Mitchell. Mitchell lived next door to the Russells and authored a story entitled “Russell the White Indian” which was published in the Winter 1960 issue of “Montana: The Magazine of Western History.” Several of the photos show Cole’s artwork, predominantly featuring Native Americans, cowboy and Western themes. One was captioned, “Indian dreaming about Now and Then, when all they have left is the Buffalo skull.” There was also a copy of a photo signed to Evelyn “from her friend and admirer Mike Mansfield,” a Washington D.C. senator who hung one of her paintings in his office. Four 3 ½” x 4 ¾” portrait photos show “Artist Curt Dennis,” Paul Walters, Sid A. Willis and Charley Bell.
There is a 4” x 6” B&W photograph of a beautiful lamp Cole made for Dentzel, and five shots, about 3” x 6”, of illustrations Cole made on envelopes that she mailed to H.C. Eklund from 1951 to 1956.
An original “watercolor cowboy on envelope” by Cole is held at the University of Montana but no other evidence of holdings of Cole’s work were found online or in OCLC. Item #511