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Contributed by Arizona Historical Society Library and Archives, Tempe
The Richard Schaus Ranching Collection (FM MSS 6) is one of the Arizona Historical Society's premier research collections. Together with the Foundation's closely-related Arizona Cattle Growers Association Collection (FM MSS 23), the two sources offer abundant research material about the history of the ranching and cattle industry in Arizona.
Abbie Keith (1888-1984), a former rancher, served as the Arizona Cattle Growers Association Secretary beginning in 1923. In 1945 she established the Arizona Cattlelog magazine to provide increased news to members. A native of Wisconsin, Richard Schaus (1910-1981) was a new photographer in Phoenix following WWII. Keith hired him as a freelancer in 1949 to cover cattle and ranching events throughout Arizona for the Association. Soon he was also writing articles to accompany the photographs, and this led to a deep interest in all aspects of ranching and the cattle industry and their history. He became the magazine's editor upon Keith's retirement in 1962, a post he served until his own retirement in 1980.
The several hundred iconic photos in this exhibit, selected from more than 10,000 images, attest to the richness and variety of subject matter that can be found in the Schaus Collection. Both Keith and Schaus were interested in the lives of all associated with the cattle industry: men and women ranchers, their children, their cowhands, rodeo performers, those who showed and sold livestock, and government officials and university professors who worked with them. Many of these photos, spanning the years 1942-1980, appeared in issues of the Arizona Cattlelog. Then as now, they celebrate Arizona ranching as a way of life and a distinctive culture.
This exhibit is dedicated to Dorothy Webb whose family has been interwoven with the Arizona ranching industry since before Statehood. Her husband, Bud (Milton D.) Webb, served as President of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association. In 1983, after Richard Schaus' death, Dorothy organized and identified the photographs, and created the extensive finding aid for the Schaus Collection. Soon after, she also arranged for the transfer of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association papers to the Arizona Historical Foundation, and has donated significant additions to this collection since then. For decades she has been an outstanding champion for the preservation of Arizona's history. These donated collections now reside at the Arizona Historical Society, Tempe.