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Charlie Russell's illustrated letters

Remember writing letters on actual paper with a pen? It may be a bit of a lost art these days with electronic communications, but check out these illustrated letters by Charlie Russell--these truly are art. Many of us have heard about Russell's letters. See if you can spot those in this grouping that were done by other artists (were they inspired by Russell himself?)

A Buffalo Bill Center of the West Virtual Exhibit
Curated by: NancyM


Friend Ed
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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74.60 | May 1 1921 | sight height: 9.875 in, sight width: 6.25 in, mat height: 0 in, mat width: 12.063 in, Frame height: 19.375 in, Frame width: 15.875 in | Friend Ed | Gift of William E. Weiss | Russell wrote this letter to artist Ed Borein from California where he met the celebrities mentioned. | LRC: your friend/ C M Russell dated May 1 1921 | 74.60.jpg | 74.60.JPG | California | Borein, Ed | illustrated letter | watercolor and pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Friend Joe [Joe D...
Russell, Charles M. | letter...
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8.04.4 | 1920 | H: 11 in, width: 8.5 in, Frame height: 20 in, Frame width: 17.775 in, frame depth: 1.5 in | Friend Joe [Joe De Yong] | Partial Bequest of Vernon R. Drwenski and Museum Purchase | caption: Its plenty scary at Hollywood Its wonderful what on man can do with one gun if hes got blank cartrages Pasadina California March 30 1920 Friend Joe I got your letter and paintings they were wonderfull from an artistien standpoint not quite bold enough in stroke. youd have don better with a hay knife it would give more teck neque maby that aint spelt right but you savy Thars lots of movie [?] folks here both male and female more he oues that thair is cows the only cows Iv seem is the kind you moove up on with a stool an bucket saw Tom Mix and Bill Hart work both treated me fine Tom sent his regards to you and your onley say Neal Hart a few minuts he also sends regards have seen Bill Rogers work. several times Am going into the mountains with him sunday to see them make some real out door pictures If you ever want to paint frute roses are automobiles come to this country I forgot Bungaloos they grow here too this last groath origanaly came from India where they had to be snake and tiger proof but judging from the one we got Californa is like Irland well Joe Il tell you all about it when I git home which wont be long with best whishes to you three from we of the same [?] your friend C M Russell | L.26.99.4.jpg | L.26.99.4.jpg | 8.04.4.jpg | 8.04.4.jpg | letter | Painting | pen and ink and watercolor | Russell, Charles M.

Friend Perc | [ol...
Russell, Charles M. | Drawin...
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105.60 | 3/27/1920 | sight height: 3.25 in, sight width: 5.125 in, Frame height: 15 in, Frame width: 16.75 in | Friend Perc | [old title] Arrival of the Stage | Gift of William E. Weiss | In addition to being a talented painter, Russell was a skillful storyteller who often illustrated his correspondence with sketches in pen or watercolor. He sent letters to his wife Nancy, to patrons and fellow artists, saloonkeepers and cowboys. Russell sent this card from Pasadena, California to Percy Raban, a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune, as a thank-you for Raban's birthday wishes. | LRC: Pasadina/Cal/March 27/1920; URC: your friend C M Russell; envelope: H.P. Raban/Ford Bldg/Great Falls/mont LLC: no ol (in pencil); URC: postmark: PASADENA/MAR 29/12 M/1920/CAL.; URC: US POSTAGE 2 CENTS stamp | 105.60.jpg | Landscape | horse | transportation | Cowboy | Drawing | pen and ink on paper | watercolor | Russell, Charles M.

Friend Tex
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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76.60 | June 5, 1918 | sight height: 14.5 in, sight width: 7.638 in, Frame height: 24 in, Frame width: 17 in | Friend Tex | Gift of William E. Weiss. | Artist's letters often provide documentary evidence for historians, but Charles Russell's letters make a special art form uniting image and word. Usually light-hearted, the letters present Russell as the home-spun philosopher. The letter to Friend Tex is written to Tex McLeod, a roper in Buffalo Bill's Wild West, and contains a touching passage about Russell's adopted son. | Picture at top signed C M Russell/(skull)/1918;Letter signed "your friend/C M Russell";Letter dated June 5, 1918. | Title: (Letter with color picture at top). Picture at top signed: C M Russell/(skull)/1918. Letter signed: your friend/C M Russell | 76.60.JPG | 76.60.jpg | Borein, Ed | cowboy roping horse | McLeod, Tex | illustrated letter | ink and watercolor on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Raban, Percy, 5/3...
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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69.60 | URC: May 3d 1907 | H: 6.25 in, width: 9.686 in, Frame height: 16 in, Frame width: 19.5 in | Raban, Percy, 5/3/1907 | Gift of William E. Weiss | In 1907 Russell traveled to New York City to present his first one-man show i the art capital. His letter to newspaperman Percy Raban indicates Russell's preference for Great Falls, Montana, over the big city. While in New York, Russell saw William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West exhibition at Madison Square Garden. OR Russell wrote about seeing Buffalo Bill's Wild West to his friend Percy Raban, a newspaperman. | May 3d 1907 Friend Percy I am still on dear old brodway among the cliff dwelers every body lives high here but they aint got me skined much Im camped above timber line myself I was down at Madison Square gardon the other day an met Cody he's lost most of his hair in the London fog but his back locks are still long. the show was good real cow boys an Indians this reminds me of central ave but laving all jokes aside Il take our Streets bumps an all NY with cabs under ground an sky sayling car liner is all right for them that like her. but I know a town with two mil of track an a fiew tracks thats swift anough for me give me the camp where I savy the people sketch caption: Heys a Live one | Restrictions: May not be sold or traded under any circumstances. No signature on front | 69.60.jpg | 69.60.JPG | 69.60.jpg | 69.60.jpg | transportation | Figure | Animal | illustrated letter | watercolor on paper | pen and ink | Russell, Charles M.

Raban, Percy, 4/2...
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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70.60 | ULC: April 20 1914 | sight height: 6.5 in, sight width: 8.875 in, Frame height: 16.625 in, Frame width: 18.875 in, frame depth: 1.75 in | Raban, Percy, 4/20/1914 | Gift of William E. Weiss. | When Russell exhibited his paintings in London, he visited the sights and wrote back home to his friends such as Percy Raban. | April 20, 1914 Friend Percy here I am in old London an Its [?] antique I was up north of the big camp the other day where stands an old monistary all so a wall built by the romans built I suppose to protect them from Dinny Doolins forefathers who crossed the chanel once an a while in there bull boats healed with clubs of black thorne an stone axes to pruve to the gladitors that life wasent no lengethy picknie I was told that this country was also the home range of William the Conqueror a gentle man whos history would make Sitting Bull look like Brother Van I found a pach of woods that was realy lonsum an I couldent help but wonder what would happen . if the wheel of time would slip her slip her cogs an slide back to the tenth sentury like Mark Twains yankie A fine chance Id a stood in this timber afoot if Bill [?] an his bunch of killers had of rode on to me dressed in there steel chain union suits theird been nothing for me but take my hat off an make a squaring talk or sing God save the King Well Percy I will have to close as we are going out in the country with best whishes from us both to you and yors Your friend C M Russell Address Dore Gallery 35 New Bord St London | Restrictions: May not be sold or traded under any circumstances. Signed LRC: your friend/C M Russell | Book: Charles M. Russell, The Storyteller's Art by Raphael James Cristy; University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 2004, plate 29 (following page 172). | 70.60.jpg | 70.60.JPG | 70.60.jpg | 70.60.jpg | 70.60.jpg | Figure | Group | Landscape | Cowboy | illustrated letter | pen and ink | watercolor on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Dear "Russ"
Goodwin, Philip R. | illustr...
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26.83 | 7-14-1908 | H: 6.75 in, width: 10.5 in, Frame height: 21.625 in, Frame width: 17.875 in | Dear "Russ" | Artist Philip Goodwin wrote this illustrated letter to his friend Charles M. Russell. In it he mentions illustrations he is doing for Winchester calendars. | Last page: Philip R. Goodwin [URC, first page:] July 14, 1908 | First page with moose painting. May be related to letters from C.M. Russell, May 26, 1908 and January 1909, both in Stark Museum of Art | Page 2 with deer painting | Page 3 with no paintings, writing only | Last page with bear painting | 26.83.1-4.jpg | 26.83.jpg | 26.83.3.JPG | 26.83.1.JPG | 26.83.2.JPG | 26.83.4.JPG | Group | Landscape | Animal | illustrated letter | pen and ink | watercolor on paper | Goodwin, Philip R.

Friend Sarah
Poulsen, M. C. | illustrated...
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5.02 | April 10, 2002 | Sheet height: 11 in, Sheet width: 8.5 in, Image height: 4.5 in, Image width: 4 in, Frame width: 14.625 in, Frame height: 17.625 in | Friend Sarah | Gift of the artist | printed on page: M.C. POULSEN/2319 Larkspur Court-Cody, Wyoming-82414-307-587-6862-fax-307-527-6611. hand written on page: 10 APRIL 2002/ "YELLOWSTONE FALLS"/FRIEND SARAH,/I CAN'T BEGIN TO EXPRESS MY GRATITUDE/FOR THE INVITATION TO DO THE "WORKSHOP AT THE WHITNEY."/I WAS OVERWHELMED BY IT'S SUCCESS AND THE ENTHUSIASM/WITH WHICH IT WAS RECIEVED./YOU ARE A MOST GRACIOUS HOST AND I/APPRECIATE YOUR KNOWLEDGE, HOSPITATLITY, AND ATTENTION/ TO DETAILS AS WELL AS YOUR HELPFUL STAFF THAT ARE SO/SUPPORTIVE./PLEASE ACCEPT THIS SMALL SKETCH FOR ALL YOU DO IN YOUR EFFORTS TO FUTHER THE APPRECIATION/OF THE ART OF THE "MASTERS". THANKYOU AND MAY GOD BLESS./WESTERNLY,/M.C./ OIL/PAPER | Yellowstone Falls (title of illustration within letter) | 5.02.jpg | Yellowstone Falls | illustrated letter | oil on paper | pen and ink | Poulsen, M. C.

I Don't Know Your...
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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75.60 | ca. 1910 | sight height: 4.5 in, sight width: 6.25 in, Frame height: 14 in, Frame width: 15.75 in, frame depth: 1.75 in | I Don't Know Your Brother Rube | Gift of William E. Weiss. | In this letter to artist Edward Borein, Russell drew a self-portrait and a portrait of Borein. A native of California, Borein had moved to New York to work as an illustrator. Russell met him there and the two became friends, sharing their interests in art and the West. | LR: your friend/C M Russell/Great Falls Mont | Restrictions: May not be sold or traded under any circumstances. Signed LR: your friend/C M Russell/Great Falls mont | 75.60.JPG | 75.60.jpg | Borein, Ed | Russell Self-Portrait and Ed Borein | Borein, Rube | illustrated letter | pen and ink | watercolor on paper | Russell, Charles M.

To Charles Russel...
De Yong, Joe | illustrated l...
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77.60 | Dec 16 1914 | sight height: 10.375 in, sight width: 7.875 in, Frame height: 15.25 in, Frame width: 12.25 in | To Charles Russell; CM Russell, Mexican on Mule | Gift of William E. Weiss. | Caption: Dont know hot I come to put this Chingow's bridle rains in the wrong had. Couldn't erase it when I did notice. Chateau Montana Dec 16 1914 CM Russell Heres one of them nut letters I was talking about. I want to make a picture of a Russian Cossuck Will you tell me what particular shades of blue and yellow you use to get the sky opposite a sunset - like in "Jumped". Also what colors for where the sun is hitting on the snow like that little picture on the west wall in your library. Yours Joe De Yong, Chateau, Montana, Sketch Caption: Sign for No | Signed UR: Choteau Montana/Dec 16 1914, LLC: Joe De Yong | Book: The Natural Superiority of Mules, by John Hauer, The Lyons Press, Guilford, 2005, page 134 | 77.60.JPG | Russell, Charles M. | illustrated letter | watercolor on toned paper | De Yong, Joe

Untitled, image o...
Ross, Thom | illustrated let...
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16.98.1 | 1998 | Image height: 4 in, Image width: 5.625 in, Sheet height: 4 in, Sheet width: 9.625 in | Untitled, image of Buffalo Bill extending his hat | Gift of Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Weiss | center of envelope:] WILLIAM D. WEISS/ P.O. BOX 1108/ JACKSON WY 83001 [UR, encircled:] 5 SEATTLE WA 981/ PM/ 20 OCT/ 1998 [URC;] (cancelled 32 cent postage stamp) [bottom center:] 83001/1108 (label with hash marks) | photographed with 16.98.2, the letter. | 16.98.2.jpg | Cody, W.F. | illustrated letter | watercolor and pen and ink on paper | Ross, Thom

Dear Mamie
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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73.60 | August 24, 1896 | sight height: 9.75 in, sight width: 7.75 in, Frame height: 19.125 in, Frame width: 17.125 in | Dear Mamie | Gift of William E. Weiss | August 24 | Restrictions: May not be sold or traded under any circumstances. Title: (p. 1 and 2) (Two horses at top of first page). | 73.60VIEW1.JPG | 73.60VIEW2.JPG | 73.60.v1.jpg | 73.60.jpg | Russell, Nancy Cooper | two | horses | illustrated letter | pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Dear Nancy
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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72.60 | 1896 | sight height: 9.75 in, sight width: 7.75 in, Frame height: 19.125 in, Frame width: 17.125 in | Dear Nancy | Gift of William E. Weiss | Russell wrote this letter to Nancy Cooper the month before they were married. | Dear Nancy I received your letter and was glad here you were better I sent you the picture yesterday and also a letter by Vince Fortune I hope you received them all right I am glad Mrs Wiman called on you as I now you must be lonsum Mrs B. R Roberts is coming home monday Maggy Demars is here now and is getting merly Josy is here with her I suppose you herd that the house caught fire but it did not do much damage as we got it out before it got much hedway and you would hardly know there had been a fire well nancey I cant write any more as it is late and I want to get it of [?] to nights mail so I will close with love yours C.M. Russell maggy and Josey send there best love | Restrictions: May not be sold or traded under any circumstances. Title: (p. 1 and 2) (Owl and Birds in Tree at top of first page). | 72.60VIEW1.JPG | 72.60VIEW2.JPG | 72.60.jpg | 72.60.v1.jpg | birds | tree | Russell, Nancy Cooper | owl | illustrated letter | pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Greeting Card
Russell, Charles M. | greeti...
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117.67 | Nov 14 1903 | sight height: 7.625 in, sight width: 5.125 in, Frame height: 15.189 in, Frame width: 12.375 in | Greeting Card | Gift of Mrs. Russell Baldry, Administrator of the Bessie Righter Estate | Signed bottom center: CM Russell/(skull) | 117.67.JPG | 117.67.jpg | handwriting | Figure | greeting card | pen and ink | reproduction | watercolor on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Joe De Young [Joe...
Russell, Charles M. | letter...
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8.04.3 | ca. 1914 | H: 8.25 in, width: 12.5 in, Frame height: 17.625 in, Frame width: 21.75 in, frame depth: 1.5 in | Joe De Young [Joe De Yong] | Partial Bequest of Vernon R. Drwenski and Museum Purchase | Sketch caption: old time senter fire man Joe De Young I received your letter also model of [?] an photo of rider you modeled I think they were good your horse was a little short in the back but if you will study proportion you will come out all right most range horses measure the same. from the top of the head to the middle of the [wiltrers] would measure the same from there back to the coupling study your saddle horses he will teach you more than I could tell you in a thousand years the picture of your Father and I with the bunch in the Silver Dollar was no good it was so blured you could hardly tell one man from annother You will find enclosed a photo of my self and friend I have riddin this old boy nearly 15 yeas so you see hes a has been the saddle was made in 1888 by Meany of Cheyenne it is the old time Vaeala tree the spurs I ware Iv had for 32 years the raw hide ranes 30 and I have been in montan mearly 34 years so you see the picture shows a bunch of old has beens yores C M Russell give my regards to your father | L.26.99.3.jpg | L.26.99.3.jpg | 8.04.3.jpg | letter | Painting | watercolor and pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Joe De Young [Joe...
Russell, Charles M. | letter...
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8.04.5 | 1913 | H: 8.125 in, width: 12.875 in | Joe De Young [Joe De Yong] | Partial Bequest of Vernon R. Drwenski and Museum Purchase | Joe De Yong (1894-1975) was Russell's only protege. Aspiring to be an artist, the nineteen year old De Yong sent some sketches and a photograph of his first sculptural model to Russell. In his reply, Russell gave the young artist advice on materials and methods for making a sculpture. | Sept 2 1913 Your photo and letter with sketches was received the sketches were good Brown and Biglow Calander Co handel my reproductions thair address is St Paul Minn in regards to modling for aney thing large that is to say over five ore six inches the largest I have ever don was about 18 inches horse and rider I use pasteline this is not permanent but if there is a Dago in your town that landes plaster paris casts he could cast it for you in my smaller things I use bees wax diamond brand bees wax is the bst the wax must be warned before handling if your figure is well wired as the above sketch showes it will last if not to roughly handled the wire in the legs of animal should be tacked to a wooden base these small things [?] paintwith oil coler using turpen tine to thin the paint The bees wax could can get in a drugstore there is also a regular modling wax you can buy at most art stores where you will find pasteline modling wax is also good for small work good luck and best whishes C M Russell | L.26.99.5.jpg | L.26.99.5.jpg | 8.04.5.jpg | letter | Painting | watercolor and pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.

Mr. W.H. Smith/De...
Russell, Charles M. | illust...
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9.75.1A/B | May 18, 1911 | H: 12 in, width: 10 in, mat height: 24 in, mat width: 16 in, Frame height: 26.25 in, Frame width: 18.25 in | Mr. W.H. Smith/Dear Sir | In this letter to W. Hinckle Smith, a Philadelphia businessman, Russell describes two important oil paintings he displayed at New York's Folsom Galleries: The Range Mother (1908) and Sun Worshippers (1910). | Letter addressed to: Mr. W. Hinkle Smith Franklin Bank Building Philadelphia Penn May 18 1911 Mr. W. H Smith Dear Sir It is hardley worth while to tell you a cow man the meaning of the picture a Range mother as you know well enough what a fighting cow is especially one with a calf but for the people who dont know on the ranges I knew on long hot drives to the round up grounds a calf would some times get leg weary in these cases the calf was roped ear marked an dropped with its mother to be picked up an branded later. in this painting the mother has objected The Sun Worshipers all planes Indians [?] prayed to the sun and were much more devout than their Christian white brothers This painting represents the advance of a hunting party the old man is asking the sun for success in the buffalo run the seen is in the sun river or as the Indians call it Medicine River valley in Montana in the background is sun river buttes Im old times this wase one of the [?] hunting grounds of the Blackfeet Yours verry truly C M Russell | Signed LR: CM Russell | 9.75.1A&Band.2.JPG | 9.75.1A&Band.2.jpg | Indian | illustrated letter | pen and ink on paper | Russell, Charles M.