Hell on Horses and Women
116. MARRIOTT, Alice. Hell on Horses and Women. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, . viii , 290,  pp., double-page title and headpieces illustrated by Margaret Lefranc. 8vo, original beige cloth. Fine in d.j. with a few short marginal tears (no losses).
First edition. Adams, Herd 1443. Campbell, p. 131: “All about the women in the cattle business—from Wyoming to Florida—who share with the men folk the problems and pleasures of ranch life. Based on interviews with many ranch wives, most of whom seem to find hell—in the company of their men—a rather pleasant place.” Jordan, Cowgirls, p. 282. King, Women on the Cattle Trail and in the Roundup, p. 17. Hanna, Yale Exhibit:“‘The cow business is a damn fine business for men and mules, but it's hell on horses and women.’ The origin of this statement is obscure, but in eighteen states not one among the ranch women interviewed by Alice Marriott agreed. This account of their experiences is too good to be omitted from an exhibition on western women.” Marriott’s excellent study was a pioneering work; until its publication there had been relatively little factual material on the distaff side of ranching. Marriott interviewed ranch wives and regular cowhands, but does not use their real names.
Artist Margaret Lefranc (1907-1998) deserves mention. After studying in Germany and Paris and establishing a gallery in New York, Lefranc fell under the spell of New Mexico when she visited Taos in 1939 and became friends with D. H. and Frieda Lawrence and W. H. Auden. She relocated to New Mexico in 1945. In 1948 Maria: The Potter of San Ildefonso, for which Lefranc created the illustrations, won the "Fifty Best Books of the Year Award" given by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Library of Congress. Margaret's work recently was exhibited at St. John's College (Santa Fe) in 1993, and was included in the Independent Spirits: Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945 exhibition and catalogue. ($25-50)
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