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The Frontier ClubPopular Westerns and Cultural Power, 1880-1924$
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Christine Bold

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731794

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731794.001.0001

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Cowboys and Publishers

Cowboys and Publishers

(p.55) 2 Cowboys and Publishers
The Frontier Club

Christine Bold

Oxford University Press

Chapter Two argues that the frontier club western served as the hinge between open-range ranching and “quality” publishing—industries which were locked in parallel marketplace battles, shared investment and personnel overlaps, and wielded similar tropes of cultural hierarchy. It traces Wister’s journey from Philadelphia to Wyoming to Manhattan via elite clubs which shaped the emerging western. Philadelphia Clubman, novelist and physician Silas Weir Mitchell provided Wister’s entrée to ranching and publishing, and the drawing-room manners and heterosexual romance which the Boone and Crockett Club template lacked. Wyoming cattle kings (especially Cheyenne Club members) cultivated anglophile rituals to mask the brute force of their financial cartel. And Manhattan’s “quality” publishers (including Harper Brothers and Macmillan) developed marketplace manoeuvres—again cloaked as cultural superiority—to defeat competition from dime publishers and reprint libraries. A concluding comparison between frontier club and dime novel westerns suggests how frontier club writings promoted these parallel interests.

Keywords:   Wister, Silas Weir Mitchell, financial investment, open-range ranching, Cheyenne Club, publishing, Harper Brothers, Macmillan, The Virginian, dime novels

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