Price is director of the University of Oklahoma Press and Charles Marion Russell Memorial Chair on Art History. His topic is “Charles Goodnight: A Man for all Ages.”Price is collaborating with Northwestern State Associate Professor of History John Price to publish Goodnight’s papers.
Goodnight was one of the most prosperous cattlemen in the American West. The novel Lonesome Dove is a fictionalized account of a cattle drive by Goodnight and partner Oliver Loving. After the Civil War, Goodnight and Loving joined in a near statewide round up of cattle that had roamed free during the four long years of war. Having recovered his herd, however, Goodnight faced the problem of bringing it to market somewhere outside the war-ravaged South. He decided to head west, toward New Mexico and Colorado, despite the fact that getting there would mean driving the herd across a waterless stretch of west Texas.
They set out with 2,000 head to blaze a trail from Belknap, Texas, to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, which became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. In 1876, Goodnight consolidated his operations back in Texas, this time at a ranch near Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. The next year, he formed a partnership with an Irish investor, John G. Adair, and their ranch soon covered more than a million acres, with a herd of 100,000 head.
“The Charles Goodnight Papers project is an important addition to the historiography of the American West,” said John Price. “It is a work of original source materials, photographs and letters, the life blood, of this important keystone of Western Americana. These papers add clarity as well as correction to a variety of topics that are baffling to historians as well as topics which will make it more likely to capture the essence of the man and his times.”
B. Byron Price spent nearly 25 years in the museum profession before joining the University of Oklahoma. He served as executive director of the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas (1982-1986); the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City (1987-1996) and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming (1996-2001).
A 1970 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, B. Byron Price earned an M.A. in Museum Science at Texas Tech University in 1977.
He is the author of more than three dozen magazine and journal articles on western American history and art and has written or edited more than 10 books and monographs including Charles M. Russell: A Catalogue Raisonné (2007) Fine Art of the West (2004); Erwin E. Smith: Cowboy Photographer (1997); Cowboys of the American West (1996); and The National Cowboy Hall of Fame Chuck Wagon Cook Book (1995). He has also served as a consultant for several television series on the History and Discovery Channels.
The lecture is sponsored by Dr. Lisa Abney, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at Northwestern State, the NSU Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Science and the Charles Goodnight Papers Project.