Pistols: Dazzling Firearms

Selected, Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography offers selected reading recommendations in conjunction with the Stark Museum of Art’s special exhibition Pistols: Dazzling Firearms and related exhibits and educational events. Pistols: Dazzling Firearms was organized by the Museum of the American West, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California.

George-Warren, Holly. Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Well-researched biography details the life and career of this successful businessman and star of music, movies, and television. Includes filmography.

Houze, Herbert G. Arming the West: Schuyler, Hartley & Graham’s Arms Shipments to the American Frontier, 1868 – 1886. Woonsocket, RI: Mowbray Publishing, 2008.

Details from the Western shipping records of Schuyler, Hartley and Graham, one of largest suppliers of firearms to the frontier. Brief notations on consignees organized by state. Includes serial numbers of numerous Sharps Rifles and bibliography.

Houze, Herbert G. Colt Presentations from the Factory Ledgers: 1856-1869. Lincoln, RI: Andrew Mowbray, Inc., 2003.

Original account journals of the Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. reveal the ways in which Col. Colt recorded gifts. Colt’s system was an attempt to avoid charges of undue influence on those in political power. Includes glossary, bibliography, and index.

Houze, Herbert G. Studies in the Decoration of Firearms: Rudolph J. Kornbrath’s Association with Smith & Wesson. Armax: The Journal of the Cody Firearms Museum VI (1996): 43-65.

An exploration of Kornbrath’s engraving career with major firearms manufacturers and individual commissions. The author uses extant personal correspondence and other records to detail Kornbrath’s success during and after the Depression.

Houze, Herbert G. with Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, ed. Samuel Colt: Arms, Art and Invention. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press with Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 2006.

Extensive use of primary source documents from the Colt archive brings new light to the business acumen of Colt the inventor and industrialist. Detailed photographs illustrate the evolution of revolving arms and Colt’s own designs. Includes list of patents, glossary, selected bibliography, and index.

Kasper, Shirl. Annie Oakley. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.

Biography looks beyond the popular image and portrays a conservative, feminine entertainer who was also a competitive and successful entrepreneur. Includes bibliography and index.

Nottage, James H. Saddle Maker to the Stars: The Leather and Silver Art of Edward H. Bohlin. Los Angeles and Seattle: Autry Museum of Western Heritage in association with University of Washington Press, 1996.

Authored by the chief curator at the Autry Museum, this text examines Bohlin’s life from his native Sweden to his saddleshops in Cody WY and Hollywood, CA. Bohlin’s engraving work can be seen in the Pistols: Dazzling Firearms exhibition.

Overton, Joice I. Cowboy Bits and Spurs with Values. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, Inc., 2003.

Each chapter addresses a specific type of bit or spur. Includes over 500 photographs with detailed descriptions and estimated values.

Pattie, Jane. Cowboy Spurs and Their Makers. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1991.

The process and mechanics of hand forging spurs is explored through a contemporary maker along with the history of this folk art form. Well illustrated reference for identifying spurs used by riders of Texas and the Southwest. Includes index of spur makers, bibliography, and index.

Price, B. Byron. Fine Art of the West. New York and London: Abbeville Press, 2004.

Covers a wide range of decorated gear of the American cowboy including saddles, boots, and hats as well as, metal work in bits, spurs, and guns. Over 200 color illustrations, extensive notes, bibliography, and index.

Rattenbury, Richard C. The Art of American Arms Makers: Marketing Guns, Ammunition and Western Adventure During the Golden Age of Illustration. Oklahoma City: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2004.

Exhibition catalogue that looks at the commercial artwork created by the domestic arms-making industry in America between 1890 and 1930. Includes selected bibliography.

Riley, Glenda. The Life and Legacy of Annie Oakley. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994.

This biography explores Oakley the entertainer as well as Oakley the successful business woman in a male dominated field. Personal correspondence, pamphlets authored by Oakley, and family reminiscences help reconstruct Oakley’s life story. Includes illustrations and index.

Wilson, R. L. Silk and Steel: Women at Arms. New York: Random House, 2003.

An in-depth look at the history of women and firearms as shooters, hunters and collectors from Queen Elizabeth I and Annie Oakley to modern members of the military. Includes 300 color photographs, bibliography, and index.

Wilson, R. L. Steel Canvas: The Art of American Arms. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, 2004.

Presents the tradition of engraving and embellishing arms through photographs on nearly every page. Includes glossary, bibliography of published and unpublished sources, list of American Arms Engravers, and index.

For Children

Krensky, Stephen. Shooting for the Moon: The Amazing Life and Times of Annie Oakley. New York: Melanie Kroupa Books, 2001.

Richly illustrated picture biography for grades 1-4.

Macy, Sue. Bull’s-Eye: A Photobiography of Annie Oakley. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2001.

Well documented story, includes chronology, resource list, and index. Author’s note addresses the challenge she faced in getting the facts right. For grades 5-8.

Schulson, Rachel Ellenberg. Guns: What You Should Know. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman & Company, 1997.

Explains different types of guns and how they work. Includes explanation of the gun control debate and warns of the possible dangers guns present. Concludes with simple rules for what to do if a child finds a gun. Grades 3-5.

Selected titles may be available for purchase in the Museum Store.

For Museum Store information call 409-886-ARTS (2787) ext. 3013.

You can also consult your local library. Books not in the holdings of your local library can often be borrowed through inter-library loan.

Bibliography prepared by Jenniffer Hudson Connors, Librarian, Stark Museum of Art.