Reporters may contact: Meredith Dickenson
SMU News and Information
(214) 768-7654

January 8, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) -- An exhibit of rare books and an evening noncredit class will bring the heydey of the great American cattle drives to the campus of Southern Methodist University this winter.

"Trailing the Herd: The Cattle Drive in the American West," on exhibit at SMU's DeGolyer Library until Feb. 28, includes more than 150 rare books, manuscripts, pamphlets and posters from the glory days of the cattle business, spanning from the first trail drives after the Civil War to the close of the frontier in the late 1880s. Attendance is free and tours may be arranged by calling 214-768-3231.

"Git Along Little Dogie: A Cowboy Primer" is a six-week informal course that will examine the growth of the cattle trade, the historic trails, the life of the working cowboy, boom towns along the most famous trails, legendary ranches, cattle barons and little-known historical facts about this vanished era. The six-week informal course costs $79 per person and meets every Wednesday evening on the SMU campus from Feb. 21 to March 28. Offered by the SMU Division of Education and Lifelong Learning, the class will be taught by Clive G. Siegle, William P. Clements Jr. Scholar in Southwest Studies in SMU's Dedman College. To enroll, call 214-768-5376, fax to 214-768-1071, or access the website at

Arlington businessman and rare book collector Larry E. Myers has loaned his collection of rare Western books to the SMU DeGolyer Library for the exhibit. In addition, William S. Reese, an antiquarian bookseller who specializes in Western Americana, wrote an introduction for the exhibit catalogue. The Myers collection includes histories of the cattle drives; maps, pamphlets and business ledgers; diaries and other first-hand accounts of life on the trail; rare biographies and autobiographies of ranchers and cowboys; first-edition books on the big ranches; studies and financial prospectuses on the cattle business; rare handbooks of the cattle brands from the early Western range; and historical and personal accounts of the great range wars. SMU DeGolyer Library Director David Farmer says the Myers Collection is worth seeing for the breadth and scope of its artifacts.

"It contributes beautifully to the literature of the American West. As an experienced collector, Mr. Myers has shown great care and knowledge in his selections over the years, assembling a library that covers the story of the great American West: the cattle drives, the famous cowboys and ranchers, the business end of the cattle business, and the hardships and adventures of that mythical era," he said.

Siegle and Farmer said that the class and the exhibit evolved independently of one another, but they are not surprised by the timing. SMU is becoming a national center for the study of Southwest culture and history with significant interdisciplinary resources on campus. The DeGolyer Library has a major research collection devoted to Western Americana, Texana, the borderlands between the U.S. and Mexico, and railroad history. The SMU William P. Clements Jr. Center for Southwest Studies, part of the SMU Clements History Department in Dedman College, brings leading scholars from throughout the world to the campus to write and research and the center sponsors conferences, periodic lectures, and symposia on the Southwest. The Clements History Department offers a Ph.D. program in American history with special emphasis on the Southwest. Of particular benefit to the history program is SMU's Fort Burgwin Research Center, the home of SMU-in-Taos which provides an exceptional site for interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching related to the Native American and Spanish cultures of northern New Mexico. It includes an archaeological dig of a 13th-century Indian pueblo. And finally, the SMU Meadows Museum houses one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art in the world.