The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister

The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister

The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister

The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience: The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister

Synopsis

First published in 1968,The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experiencehas become a classic in the field of American studies.

G. Edward White traces the origins of "the West of the imagination" to the adolescent experiences of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister--three Easterners from upper-class backgrounds who went West in the 1880s in search of an alternative way of life.

Each of the three men came to identify with a somewhat idealized "Wild West" that embodied the virtues of individualism, self-reliance, and rugged masculinity. When they returned East, they popularized this image of the West through art, literature, politics, and even their public personae. Moreover, these Western virtues soon became and have remained American virtues--a patriotic ideal that links Easterners with Westerners.

With a multidisciplinary blend of history, biography, sociology, psychology, and literary criticism, The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience will appeal to a wide audience. The author has written a new preface, offering additional perspectives on the mythology of the West and its effect on the American character.

Excerpt

In the course of my attempt to find a connection between such disparate events as the Johnson County War in Wyoming in 1892 and the Bradley-Martin ball in New York City five years later, I have profited from the assistance of a number of people who were willing to enlighten me on various aspects of the East and the West, regardless of whether they thought that the twain had ever met. Mrs. Robin McKown has filled a void in my research on Frederic Remington by allowing me to make use of her voluminous notes and patiently responding to queries. Mrs. Frances Kemble Wister Stokes and Owen J. Wister, Jr., have cheerfully discussed their father at length. Mrs. Sheila K. Hart and the reference staff of the Harvard College Library have placed the Theodore Roosevelt Collection of papers at my disposal and answered questions with kindness and dispatch.

Profitable discussions with E. Digby Baltzell, Michael H. Cowan, Lewis L. Gould, William Lilley, iii, and Orm Overland have opened new areas of investigation and helped to clarify some of my own notions. Mrs. Catherine W. Taggert, Curator of the Remington Art Memorial at Ogdensburg, New York; David C. Mearns, Chief of the Manuscripts Division at the Library of Congress; and the staffs of the Rare Manuscripts Division of the New York Public Library and the Western History Research Center of the University of Wyoming have guided the direction of my research. Mrs. Anne Granger has performed a range of editorial and typing services in several stages of the manuscript. A. N. Kaul, Kenneth Keniston, and Edwin Fussell have read the entire manuscript in preliminary form and made valuable critical suggestions.

I am especially indebted to Howard Roberts Lamar, who inspired and directed the work in its original form, and to Wayland Schmitt, who has labored hard to made it readable. To them and to the above my thanks and gratitude.

Washington, D.C.

G. E. W.

September 1967 . . .

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