Featured Photographs and Artwork

While it is challenging to find photographic records specific to the Chisholm Trail, the era is detailed in photographs taken during the late 1800s and early 1900s on ranches across Texas and the Southwest. One of the most renowned collections is from Texas photographer Erwin E. Smith.

Born in 1886 at the end of the cattle trail era, Smith grew up in Bonham, Texas. As a young man, he worked on a number of ranches across the Southwest in addition to attending art school in Chicago and Boston. He participated in all facets of ranch work as he photographed what he considered to be the rugged realities and the romance of life on the open range. The collection is now archived at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, which along with the Erwin E. Smith Foundation generously provided the Texas Historical Commission use in this tour. The full collection and a teaching guide can be viewed on their website

Many other notable photograph and artwork collections appear throughout the tour which can be independently explored, including:

Bill Wittliff and the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, San Marcos 

The Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas

The Sid Richardson Museum, Fort Worth 

The Tom Lea Institute, El Paso