TITLE: The Cowhand Then and Now

GRADES: 4–7

SUBJECT AREAS: Visual Art, History, Social Studies

TEXAS ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS (TEKS) CONNECTIONS

To support the teaching of the essential knowledge and skills, the use of a variety of rich primary and secondary source materials (including photographs) is encouraged.

4.21 Science, technology, and society. The student understands the impact of science and technology on life in Texas.

7.6 History. The student understands how individuals, events, and issues shaped the history of Texas from Reconstruction through the beginning of the 20th century.

7.6(B) History. The student explains the political, economic, and social impact of the cattle industry and the development of West Texas resulting from the close of the frontier.

7.7 History. The student understands how individuals, events, and issues shaped the history of Texas during the 20th century.

OBJECTIVES

In this lesson students will:

  • develop observation skills by looking closely at Erwin E. Smith’s photographs for details that describe cowboy life related to working environment (the range), clothing, food, transportation, gear, age, and gender;
  • compare and contrast the cowhand’s way of life during 1905 to 1912, when Erwin Smith was taking photographs, as well as the life of the present-day cowboys;
  • identify the technological changes and what has remained the same pertaining to the cowboy’s way of life, from 1905 to the present day.

ACTIVITIES

Activity 1: Have students use the activity sheet, The Cowhand Then and Now, to help them understand the changes in the cowboy’s way of life over the years. This sheet will help students identify the changes in technology, clothing, gear, transportation, food, and social life evident in Smith’s photographs and in present-day examples. Begin with examples of Smith’s photographs in the Works of Art section of this lesson plan, then, if time allows, have students find more examples on the Cowboy Photographer: Erwin E. Smith online collection guide. Review the Timeline of History section of this teaching guide for more information about events that shaped history in Erwin Smith’s era.

Activity 2: Research images of present-day cowboys in magazines or other publications (see Web sites listed in Resources section).

Activity 3: Have students write journal entries on the cowboy way of life “then” (in the early 1900s) or “now” (present day). For the “then” journal entries, students should base their observations on details in Erwin Smith’s photographs, information gathered from The Cowhand Then and Now activity sheet, and any other resources. For the “now” journal entries, students should base their writing on the activity sheet and other contemporary resources, including interviewing living cowboys.

WORKS OF ART (Click on image to view an enlargement.)

Compare Clothing   Compare Food
 
Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
The Boys of the LS near Tascosa Lingering at the Chuck Wagon after the Day's Work is Done, Listening to Range Boss Telling Stories, LS Ranch, Texas, 1907
Nitrate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S59.110
  Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Erwin E. Smith Eating a Mid-Morning Snack, OR Ranch, 1909–1910
Gelatin dry plate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S6.002
Compare Transportation
Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Matador Trail Herd on the Move, 1910
Gelatin dry plate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S6.151
Compare Remuda/Rope Corral   Compare Age and Gender of Cowhands
 
Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Emory Sager Catching up the Mounts from Remuda Held by a Rope Corral, Shoe Bar Ranch, Texas, 1912
Nitrate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S59.351
  Erwin E. Smith (1886–1947)
Little Joe the Wrangler, Three Blocks Ranch, New Mexico, ca. 1908–1909
Gelatin dry plate negative
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
LC.S6.367

BOOKS

Price, Byron. Imagining the Open Range: Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer. (Fort Worth: Amon Carter Museum, 1998).

Worcester, Don. Cowboy with a Camera: Erwin E. Smith, Cowboy Photographer. (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum, 1998).

WEB SITES

http://www.texascowboyhalloffame.com/
http://www.cowgirl.net/
http://www.cattleraisersmuseum.org/
http://www.fortworth.com/
http://www.museumeducation.org/curricula_treasure_text.html

ASSESSMENT

Students demonstrate their understanding of the changes in the cowboy’s way of life from studying Smith’s photographs taken in 1905 and comparing them to present-day images found in print, video, or on the Internet. Students identify the technological advances as well as the economic and social impact of the cattle industry in Texas resulting from the close of the frontier.

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