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Celebration of the Month Library Exhibits: Latinx Heritage Month

Celebrate monthly events with these commemorative library exhibits!

Exhibit feedback is welcome via the exhibit survey.

In Person Exhibits 09/18/2023 - 10/13/2023

Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy
Black and white photo of two cowboys on horseback in the desert


Bill Wittliff, 1971.

"He piled his chaps on his saddle and we sat down. For how long, I wanted to know, had he been a vaquero. For a time of twenty years, he told me, from the age of six years.

   Your father also? I asked.
   Si. Un vaquero.
   And your grandfather? 
   Un vaquero.
   There was a silence. Vaqueros siempre.
   Vaqueros always, he said finally. Desde el comienzo. Since the beginning."

— Bill Wittliff, Mexico, 1972.


In the early 1970s, noted Texas historian Joe Frantz offered Bill Wittliff a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—to visit a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about daily chores that had changed little since the first Mexican cowherders learned to work cattle from a horse's back. Wittliff captured a way of life that now exists only in memory and in the photographs included in this exhibition.

Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy features photographs with bilingual narrative text that reveal the muscle, sweat, and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle. This exhibition is available in wall-hanging and abridged freestanding versions.

Vaquero is an exhibition created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library, Texas State University, presented in partnership with Humanities Texas, the state affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Vaquero is made possible in part by a We the People grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.




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BJ Schanzer