Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1882 Anglo-Am. cattleman

​Subject: cattleman rancher
Culture: Anglo-American
Setting: cattle industry, American West mid 19th-early 20thc

Event Photos

* Moore 2010 p84
"The assertion of paternalism emphasized that the cowboys required both tender care and close supervision.
    "Bosses were often strict fathers. When future Texas lawman Jim Gober was sixteen or seventeen, for example, he worked for a rancher who always 'seemed to be interested in keeping me impressed with the fact that boys should be humble and respectful to older men.' Gober bristled at the treatment but was proud to work for a Civil War hero. Zeke Newman, co-founder of the Niobara Cattle Company, was known as 'Uncle Zeke' to his men, and had a reputation as a big spender as well as a big gambler. He always lent money to the cowboys when they needed it, and the men respected him as 'one of the greatest men that ever was in the cattle business.' In return, however, like a stern father, Newman expected absolute loyalty, 'and he sure as hell got it.' Charles Goodnight forced all his men to sign contracts before going up the trail, promising to abide by his rules, and enforced his standards even against any men who bothered his own 'boys.' Even ranch foremen on corporate ranches could adopt paternalistic styles of management. Both Spottswood Lomax and Fred Horsbrugh of the Spur Ranch tried to find jobs on other ranches for the hands they had to lay off, and would often lend them horses to ride to their new jobs or money to tide them over for the winter.
    "But the use of paternalistic language and concern by the cattlemen and ranch managers was not all altruistic. Paternalism was a way for the middle class to assert authority over workers by putting them in the position of children. Bosses could thus feel justified in providing moral guidance. There were also practical concerns: the ranch was primarily a workplace, and many cattlemen certainly realized that good treatment of their 'boys' cemented personal loyalties that ensured they would be working on the same side. Disloyal hands were an economic drain on the ranch, as they could mistreat cattle, do poor work in general, and perhaps even steal some of the owner's stock for themselves. But whatever the motive for the control, the fact that they did so in paternal terms asserted a gendered hierarchy in which they, as the bosses and father figures, were the men, and the hired hands were, figuratively and literally, boys."

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