PALO PINTO – In the early 1970s, noted Texas historian Joe Frantz offered Bill Wittliff a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to visit a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways.
Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about daily chores that had changed little since the first Mexican cowherders learned to work cattle from a horse’s back. The photographer captured a way of life that now exists only in memory and in the photographs included in the exhibition “Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy.”
The Palo Pinto Old Jail Museum will present the exhibition, beginning Thursday, Sept. 26, and running through Oct. 29. Created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos, the exhibition of photographs is presented in partnership with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities and made possible in part by an NEH “We the People” grant.
The exhibition features photographs with bilingual narrative text that reveal the muscle, sweat and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle.
The Old Jail Museum is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays. For those who need further information or want to arrange a visit outside these times, call Ann Reagan at (940) 659-2555.