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Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 1979-026

Scope and Contents

The Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs consist of 4,003 negatives (2,245 safety film negatives, 1,470 nitrate negatives, and 288 glass plate negatives). The Photographs document 40 years of rodeo history and the development of the sport into a business. Personalities, events, and venues are represented in Doubleday’s photographs.

The Photographs was acquired without a log book, journal, or index. Many negatives have captions written on them by Doubleday that identifies people, places, and dates.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a grant to the National Cowboy Museum that supported a one-year project to preserve, rehouse, digitize, and provide increased access to the Photographs. Through the grant project, the original negatives were conserved and housed in freezer kits for long-term storage. Preservation interpositives and copy negatives were created so that the Photographs would maintain accessibility.


  • Creation: circa 1910-1955


Conditions Governing Access

The Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs 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 Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs 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

Ralph Russell Doubleday was a prominent rodeo photographer from 1910-1952. He was born on July 4, 1881, in Jackson County, Iowa, and after his family moved to Sycamore, Illinois, in 1900, he became interested in photographing local events. In August 1910, he traveled to the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and photographed his first rodeo. He captured Gus Nylen being thrown from bucking horse “Teddy Roosevelt,” and that image is considered to be the first shot of a man being thrown from a horse at a rodeo. Due to the success of selling prints and postcards of his photographs, Doubleday decided to make a career from rodeo photography. He shot his last event in 1952, and died on June 30, 1958.

In recognition of Doubleday’s photographic accomplishments and his promotional and documentary activities with regard to the sport of rodeo, the Rodeo Historical Society inducted him into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1988.


12.5 Linear Feet (30 flip-top negative boxes )

Language of Materials



This collection contains 4,003 photographs taken by rodeo photographer Ralph R. Doubleday.

Processing Information

The Ralph R. Doubleday Rodeo Photographs was purchased by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1979 from Albert Conover.

The Photographs were originally digitized in the early 2000s, and they are currently being redigitized at a higher resolution. Please contact the Dickinson Research Center at for inquiries about publishing rights and/or obtaining copies for personal study.



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Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States