"Whereof the shining goal was comradeship." *

Western Flying, vol.8, no.3, September

Western Flying, vol.8, no.3, September 1930

Welcome to what I hope will be a valuable reference tool for anyone searching for western/cowboy music and poetry published prior to World War II. Also, included will be more recent titles that reprint lyrics for earlier works. Since I'm trying to uncover same-sex friendship (i.e., male-male intimacy), it's this work, published prior to 1950, that most interests me. The bibliographic listings found at this site include those in my personal collection (marked with an asterisk * to the left) and others that might prove useful.

Cowboy Songs
The site is divided into several sections. Of the two major ones, "Cowboy songs" includes only sheet music and song folios. Books and periodical articles on music are included in the "Cowboy poetry" lists. Since sheet music is catalogued differently, I made the decision to isolate these items.

I cannot hope to compete with the work of John and Alan Lomax's Cowboy songs and other frontier ballads (New York: Collier Books, 1986, c1938, 431pp.) There are many books dealing with the works of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and other singing cowboys, so I've tended to avoid collecting this material. There is little sense trying to duplicate the monumental work of David Rothel, like his The Gene Autry book: reference, trivia, scrapbook (Waynesville, NC: World of Yesterday, 1986, 326pp.).

Also, there are no sound recordings (45s, 78s, LPs) or CDs to be found here. Again, this work has been expertly covered by Fred Heggeness in his Goldmine country western record and CD price guide (Iola, WI: Krause, 1996, 448pp.). My focus is on paper poetry and song material as it relates to friendship.

Cowboy Poetry
Over the last 20 years I have collected a substantial number of western poetry books. I haven't had time to read most, but eventually I hope to isolate the friendship/"pardner" titles and include them in the bibliographic record. This section will prove more useful once I list the pertinent content.

Post Cards
There have been many postcards published that include popular western songs and poetry. I collect these and several will be illustrated here. Finding publishing information, however, has been quite a challenge.

Sex in the West
This section will include references to same sex friendships, mostly to people who were active prior to WWII. It was in the 1920s, before the war, that Freud's influence became widespread in North America. Men and women became more guarded as the latent -- or blatant -- homosexual was created in the popular press. I have a few references to intense friendships, some homosexual lives and some leads to "passing women," i.e. women who dressed as men and lived male-identified lives.

I have no primary resources, but rely on the work of people like Jonathan Ned Katz (Gay American history, New York: Cromwell, 1976, 690pp.), Lillian Faderman (Odd girls and twilight lovers, New York: Columbia University Press, 1991, 373pp.) and a growing number of books on friendship.

The Library of Congress uses "friendship" and "male friendship" as subject headings. Searching LC's catalogue will produce hundreds of titles that will compliment this homepage.

Items indicated by an asterisk (*) are in my collection. Also, I've begun to collect postcard from my hometown of Cornwall, Ontario, but prefer those showing the city before the Saint Lawrence Seaway changed the waterfront.

Finally, I'm always looking for items to add to my collection or at least record their existence. Feel free to point out errors and omissions. The few Links included may prove useful.

I hope you find this listing useful.

Alan V. Miller
#4-532 Palmerston Blvd.
Toronto, Ontario
M6G 2P5

* John G. Neihardt. Song of three friends. New York: Macmillan, 1919. p.78

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Small logo "Whereof the shining goal was comradeship."
Contact owner: Alan V. Miller at millera@cowboysong.com
Last revised: October 15, 2014