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Polly Burson Scrapbook

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: 2010-015

Scope and Contents

The scrapbook has many photographs and newspaper clippings spanning Burson’s career. The photographs have been organized into two categories: those with known dates and those without. The newspaper clippings are also organized into two categories: those pertaining to Polly’s stunt work and those pertaining to her trick riding.

Note to Researchers The scrapbook was taken apart for preservation purposes. Photocopies of the original layout of the scrapbook are included with each item. Any undated items were kept in the original order they appeared in the scrapbook, and any dated items were placed in date order.


  • Creation: 1939 - 1998


Conditions Governing Access

The Polly Burson Scrapbook 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 Polly Burson Scrapbook is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (NCWHM). 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

Known for being a trick rider and stunt double, Polly Drayer Mills Burson was born Pauline Shelton on December 24, 1919, in Ontario, Oregon, to parents who were rodeo riders. She grew up in Oxnard, California, was married and divorced twice, and had no children.

Burson spent the majority of her life working in rodeos and films. She made all her own trick riding outfits and traveled the world performing with different rodeo groups. She eased into the Hollywood business in her late twenties, and acted as a double for actresses such as Yvonne DeCarlo, Joan Leslie, and Betty Hutton. She also is credited as being a double in True Grit (1969).

Polly Burson was the first recipient of the Tad Lucas Memorial Award of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1990. She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, in November 2002. Polly died in 2006.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 binder; oversized materials in FF 75)

Language of Materials



The scrapbook contains many photographs and newspaper clippings spanning Burson’s career as a trick rider and Hollywood stunt woman.

Processing Information

The Polly Burson Scrapbook was donated to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 2010 by Margie Earlywine.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NCWHM Special Collections at Dickinson Research Center Repository

1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City Oklahoma 73111 United States