Jerry Sinise Western History Collection
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of research materials, manuscripts, photographs and original artwork used by Jerry Sinise in his work as a writer and professional photographer. It consists of 5 document boxes containing 1.5 cubic feet of material. The research materials, manuscripts, photographs and original art are organized into five series. The materials were original organized randomly by the creator and had to be reorganized by subject. Each folder was then arranged alphabetically to allow for easier research accessibility.
- Creation: 1809 - 1991
Conditions Governing Access
The Jerry Sinise Western History Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The Jerry Sinise Western History Collection is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.
Biographical / Historical
Jerry Sinise was born James G. Sinise on July 8, 1926 in Harvey, Illinois, and lived in Blue Island, Illinois for 17 years. He had two brothers, Jack, who retired from the First National Bank of Blue Island, and Bob, a film editor in Los Angeles. Sinise attended grade school and high school in the Blue Island school system. He received his BA in journalism and psychology at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma in 1950. He married Dorothy Ann Jacob of Amarillo, Texas on June 12, 1949, and the couple had four children: Jerry Lynn Shilling, Paula Jo Sinise, Cynthia Brewer, and Martin Sinise. Jerry Sinise served as a radioman in the South Pacific from 1944-1946, and as a radio operator and journalist aboard the USS McCoy Reynolds from 1951-1952, after which he was honorably discharged. Sinise’s career began at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma where he served as press relations director from 1950-1951. In 1952-1953, he served as associate editor of Straight at the Standard Publishing Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sinise ventured away from journalism from 1953-1960 when he worked as a insurance, credit and employment investigator for the Retail Credit Company of Amarillo, Texas. He remained in the insurance industry from 1960-1961 when he worked as an insurance salesman for the Allstate Insurance Company in Amarillo. In 1961-1966 he returned to journalism when he became a feature writer and farm editor for the Amarillo Daily News. From March 1969 to March 1981, Sinise was the editor for the monthly magazine, Grain Producers News, for the Producers Grain Corporation. It was in this publication that he wrote a monthly column, and took all the necessary photographs. He wrote and designed two award winning annual reports for PGC, and in 1980 he began a monthly employee newsletter called The Insider. He also worked as editor of Calf News from 1979-1985. Sinise began work as a freelance writer and photographer with the Jim Thomas Agency in Amarillo. While working as a freelancer, he edited and wrote articles for the Amarillo Association of Life Underwriters Newsletter, 1970-1977, Southwestern Investment Company’s Signal, 1968-1976, and the AGC Construction News, 1974-1976. He was also the publisher and owner of Southwest Heritage, a quarterly magazine from 1968-1970.
Sinise also wrote seven books, they include: Pink Higgins, The Reluctant Gunfighter and Other Tales of the Panhandle (Nortex Press, 1973), (Texas Cattle Feeders Association, 1977), George Washington Arrington, Civil War Spy, TexasRanger, Sheriff and Rancher (Eakin Press, 1978), Black Gold and Red Lights, the story of the first four years of Borger, Texas (Eakin Publications, 1982), Texas Show Caves, the history of 7 commercially-operated caverns in Texas (collaborated with his wife Dorothy), (Eakin Press,1983), Johnson Remembered, a biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, in collaboration with Jakie Pruett (Eakin Publications, 1985), The Dr. O. M. Franklin Story, a biography of the man who patented the first workable blackleg vaccine for cattle (privately published by the Franklin family). Sinise was a ghostwriter for several publications, they include: The Hon. James Nathan Browning (1850-1921); for the Potter County Historical Survey Committee in 1969, and Three Questions-Three Answers, a story from the life of Dr. Charles Newton Gould (1868-1949);for the Potter County Historical Survey Committee, in 1967. Sinise wrote and sold a movie scenario called The Garwood Story to American Video-Cinema in Dallas, Texas and a 30-minute television script to the Whistlestop Theater at KXTX-TV in Dallas. He wrote scripts and slide shows for the Texas Cattle Feeder Association, The Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, the Military Division of American-AmicableLife Insurance Co. of Waco, Texas, and the Presidents Council of the Amarillo Association of Life Underwriters. He also wrote and sold more than 4,000 articles to a number of magazines including: Progressive Farmer, US News & World Report, Farm Journal, Western Livestock Journal, Beef, California Highway Patrolman, and Accent West. In March 1985, Sinise started a weekly newspaper from scratch in Fritch, Texas called The Lakefront Journal, where he wrote the articles, photographed all the necessary pictures forthe articles and assisted with the layout of the newspaper. In January 1986, he relinquished his ownership of the Journal to his partner and purchased a weekly newspaper in Follett, Texas. At the Limelight, he was responsible for the writing, photography, advertising and the layouts needed for the paper. On August 31, 1989, Sinise sold the Limelight and moved to Dallas,Texas. In Dallas he received an offer to serve as technical editor for the ARCO Oil & Gas Company in Plano, Texas. He was responsible for editing reports written by geologists on the NARS project. In February 1990 he received a two-year contract from R&TS as a technical editor of reports, letters, memos and manuals. Jerry Sinise died on March 30, 1996.
2.50 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The Jerry Sinise Western History Collection contains research materials on several important western historical figures including Captain G. W. Arrington of the Texas Rangers and the infamous Horrell-Higgins feud, of which Sinise focused on John “Pink” Higgins. The Sinise collection contains a number of photographs including copies of photos from various library archives. His photo collection includes photographs of several well known western historical figures such as Wm. Tilghman, Captain G. W. Arrington, Pancho Villa, John “Pink” Higgins and Geronimo. His photo collection also includes a limited edition series of photographs that depict the construction of the Pioneer Woman statue in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Series 1: Biographical (1979-1991)
This series contains news stories concerning Sinise as well as articles written by Sinise for the Grain Producers News, The California Highway Patrol, the Sunrise and other magazines. Sinise’s resume and various school documents concerning his wife, Dorothy, and the original Deed of Trust for a house at 2318 Victoria in Amarillo, Texas are also included. The folders are organized alphabetically.
Series 2: Subject Files (1865-1991) This series contains subject files that are organized alphabetically. Subject files include a brief concerning the Alibates Flint Quarries and a copy of the Tombstone Epitaph with articles concerning the Earps and the shootout at the O.K. Corral. Photocopied documents concerning Capt. G. W. Arrington, including several letters from Arrington to the Adjutant General while Arrington was a Texas Ranger 1877-1893, and a photocopy of an interview of attorney James R. Lowell concerning the murder case against Arrington. Handwritten notes and photocopies of articles concerning Fort Leaton, Presidio, Texas. Articles concerning Pancho Villa and the Columbus raid as well as letters from the Department of the Army, General Services Administration and Pastor Alfred M. Uplegger concerning Pancho Villa. Three letters from Mrs. B. I. Scoggin concerning her father, John “Pink” Higgins, and his shoot out with cattle thieves. Handwritten notes concerning the feud between the Horrells and the Higgins. Letters from Clifford B. Jones concerning Pink Higgins. Photocopies of articles about the Horrell-Higgins affair. Letters from T. A. Wheatley concerning the misinformation concerning the founder of the Doan’s Store.
Series 3: Manuscripts, Screenplays, Notes (1809-1990) This series contains manuscripts and screenplays with the folders organized alphabetically. Folders include interviews conducted by Bob Boothe for the farmers National Grain Corporation. There are three screenplays titled “The Gold Hunters,” one concerns John Wilhelm, by Fred J. Ready and two screenplays by L.E. Phillips. A manuscript then changed in 1980 to “Red Sleeves.” A manuscript by Lee Myers concerning Fort Webster. Screenplay titled “The Brightest Star: The Battle of Sabine Pass.” Manuscript titled which concern the Leverton case. Manuscript by Millie Sinise titled “Who’s Idea Was This? Or Come Ride With Me In My Ming Mobile.”
Series 4: Photographs (1824-1991) This series is organized alphabetically. Photos include several important western subjects such as the Bell Ranch, the Dorsey Mansion, and Fort Webster. Of particular note are the six photographs of Wm. Tilghman and a limited edition series of photographs of the construction of the Pioneer Woman statue in Ponca City, Oklahoma. There are also photos of Geronimo and other Native Americans who were involved in Custer’s Battle. Photos of Pancho Villa and Pink Higgins are also in the folders. Historic photos include Fort Gibson, First Navajo Trading Posts and Pack Train Traders. There are photos concerning the Navajo Zuni Raid and some of the last Texas Rangers. There are a variety of photos of cowboys and cattle, circa 1960’s, and other western topics, including CASE farm equipment circa 1890’s, that were possibly used by Sinise in his books and magazines.
Series 5: Original Art Work (1898-1980) This series is organized alphabetically with four folders dedicated to the art work of George Turner. Several of Turners worked are comprised of ink but he also used felt pens for some of his drawings. Turners topics included several western themes such as cowboys, horses, and Indians. Turner also included modern items in some of his work such as an airplane. Other original art work is also included in this series but none of the work includes the name of the artist.
The Jerry Sinise Western History Collection was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1999 by Dorothy Sinise.
- Arrington, G. W. (George Washington Arrington) (Person)
- Franklin, O. M. (Otis Morris Franklin) (Person)
- Geronimo, 1829-1909 (Person)
- Higgins, John Calhoun Pinkney (Person)
- May, Irvin M. (Person)
- Tilghman, Bill (William Matthew Tilghman) (Person)
- Turner, George (Person)
- Villa, Pancho, 1878-1923 (Person)
- Farmers National Grain Corporation (Organization)
- Grain Producers News (Organization)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description