In the late 1970s the Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University, purchased the photographic files and other papers of Frank Reeves, the well-known livestock reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the American Hereford Journal, and the Cattleman.

Containing approximately 16,000 printed photographs, 50,000 negatives, and several boxes of Reeves' news related files, this collection is one of the largest of its kind which documents the growth and development of the cattle industry from 1914 to the mid-1970s. Reeves captured the working cowboy in each decade along with a little of the romance of ranch life and he did this on every major ranch in Texas. Scenes that include all aspects of cow work, ranch architecture, horses, breeds of cattle, stock shows, cattle sales, rodeos, and the people who were involved make this collection a well-rounded view of 20th century ranching in the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Many images have the quality of movie stills--a lone cowboy working the cattle at dusk, a chuck wagon cook moving the dutch oven of sourdough biscuits to the center of the coals, a cowboy and horse drinking from the stream side-by-side. Others emphasize Reeves' specialty--action photography. In a 1969 interview Reeves said, "I've always tried to make my pictures authentic instead of spectacular. I wanted them (the subjects) working, not standing around looking at the camera. A lot of times I'd make the picture and say, 'thank ya' then they'd get busy and I'd get busy shooting."

Contact prints have been made of the negatives and extensive research has produced identification for more than 75% of the images in the collection. Unidentified images consist primarily of cattle and/or horses in pastures. Reeves did not have an organized a filing system. However, any of his attempts at organization (i.e. in some cases photos made at a particular ranch were grouped together in an envelope) were maintained by Southwest Collection archivists. The remaining images were filed according to ranches, people, and topics. This is an appropriate arrangement because most of them were made to illustrate Reeves' news articles about the same. The main body of the guide consists of a folder-level description that includes dates, number of images and their format, subjects, and a brief history of most of the ranches or events. These histories were extracted from Reeves' news articles, many of which are housed in the Southwest Collection. A few entries in the guide contain only information about a news article because the images contained therein might be useful to researchers. No prints or negatives have been located. The guide does not list the name of all people whose photograph can be found in the collection. These names are in the index which explains the unusually large number of personal names

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If you need further assistance in locating additional images or material, please contact :

Randy Vance,
Reference Desk
Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library
Box 41041
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas 79409-1041
Phone (806) 742-9070

Visit the Reference Desk website for more information on our procedures for requesting images and other archival material from the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library.

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