Treasures from Our West
Illustrated letter by Charlie Russell
Western American artist Charles M., or Charlie Russell was known as a great storyteller. Russell’s letters to his friends and family are unique because he often included small sketches in ink or watercolor, illustrating his text.
The sketches are playful and amusing yet they show the skill of a great artist. Russell usually began his letters with a drawing and then composed the narrative around the sketch.
In a letter to his friend Percy in May 1907, Russell wrote about seeing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West,
“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.”
From one cowboy to another, this was a great compliment.
These letters are a valuable part of our collection because they give insight into the colorful character of this western artist.
Charlie Russell (1864 – 1926). He’s a Live One, 1907. Pen and ink with watercolor on paper, 6.25 x 9.686 inches. Gift of William E. Weiss. 69.60