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Dickinson Museum Center to Open Rodeo Photographer Exhibit June 20
Post Date: Jun 11 2013
titlepanel.jpgThe Dickinson Museum Center’s Joachim Museum is proud to present its new exhibit “Ralph R. Doubleday: Rodeo Photographer,” a photographic and digital presentation that documents the work of one of America’s first and most notable rodeo photographers and former Dickinson resident. The public is invited to attend the exhibit opening on June 20, 2013 from 5-7 p.m. at the Joachim Museum, 188 Museum Dr. E., in Dickinson. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. 
 
In 1914, Ralph R Doubleday and E.A. Myers partnered to form a photo studio in Dickinson, N.D.  Their advertisement in the city directory indicates that they were capable of all manner of the photographic arts from studio portraits to Cirkut camera panoramas to motion pictures.  Their panorama of the city of Dickinson, now in the Library of Congress collection, was copyrighted in 1914. 
 
Like most photographers of the era, Ralph Doubleday had for some years been producing postcard prints of town scenes and events.  His images of Dickinson included street scenes and special events like the Elks State Convention Rodeo.  Doubleday was especially fond of rodeo photography and is credited with being the first photographer to capture a rider in midair being thrown from his horse in 1910. 
 
Doubleday led a peripatetic life that seems shrouded in mystery.  He appears to have enjoyed misleading people about himself and his life.  Born Edward Cochran in Canton, Iowa, he alleged to have worked as a stereo photographer, taking scenes of the world for Underwood and Underwood.  He even claimed to have accompanied Theodore Roosevelt to Africa and joined General Pershing on the chase of Pancho Villa along the Mexican border.  In spite of his imaginative biography, what is known is that he was a pioneer of rodeo photography. Will Rogers devoted a newspaper column to him in 1926. He wrote: "You have all seen at various times wonderful pictures of Cowboys and Cowgirls on bucking horses, in every kind of sport connected with a horse or a steer. You have seen buckers in the most inconceivable shapes. You marveled at the picture as much as you did the boy or girl that was on the horse, because sometimes they wasn't. You said to yourself, 'Where in the world was the photographer when he shot that?' Well, this bird I am introducing you to right now is the one that has taken 90 per cent of the good rodeo pictures ever made. He don't get ‘em till they are doing something unusual. But when they do, he is right down under them shooting up at 'em. He has had horses jump over him, wild steers run over him. But he always comes up with an exact likeness of the animal."
 
For more than 40 years, Ralph Doubleday traveled across the country shooting rodeos and making picture postcards.  His collection of more than 4,000 negatives is now part of the Donald C. and Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.  The majority of the images in this exhibition have been drawn from this collection. In recognition of Doubleday’s photographic accomplishments and his promotional and documentary activities with regard to the sport of rodeo, the Rodeo Historical Society inducted him into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame’s Rodeo Hall of Fame on November 27, 1988.
 
The Dickinson Museum Center is a museum complex located in Dickinson, N.D. consisting of the Joachim Museum, the Pioneer Machinery Museum and Prairie Outpost Park. The Joachim Museum partners with the City of Dickinson, The Stark County Historical Society and others to create a greater understanding of the region by portraying its historical heritage. The Dickinson Museum Center collects, preserves, and interprets the history of southwestern North Dakota through its collections and public programs while promoting the arts, cultural tourism and historic preservation. For more information, contact the museum at (701) 456-6225, 
info@dickinsonmuseumcenter.com or visit www.dickinsonmuseumcenter.com.
 
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