Scope and contents
Related archival materials
Title: Dodge City Cowboy Band and Jack Sinclair Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MSA.Dodge
Autry National Center, Autry Library
Language of Material:
25.2 Linear feet
(24 boxes, 2 flatfile drawers)
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1891-1916
Date (inclusive): 1866-1929, undated
The Dodge City Cowboy Band existed from 1879-1916 and performed in cowboy garb, promoting Dodge City and the idea of the Wild
West all over the United States. The conductor used a decorated gun as a baton, and the musicians all dressed as cowboys.
The band was founded and first directed in Dodge City, Kansas by Chalk Beeson. Jack Sinclair took over as director from 1890-1916
and moved the band to Pueblo, Colorado, where Sinclair was a police officer. This collection includes advertising and promotional
materials, photographs, and sheet music for the Dodge City Cowboy Band, much of which refers to the band’s final performance,
the opera “The Cowboy’s Dream.” This collection also includes personal papers of Jack Sinclair and his daughter Edith Frances
Sinclair, who also performed with the band.
Beeson, Chalkley McArtor
Dodge City Cowboy Band
Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application
or contact library staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. An item-level inventory is available from library staff.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center
as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.
Dodge City Cowboy Band and Jack Sinclair Collection, 1866-1929, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MSA.Dodge; [folder number] [folder title][date].
The Dodge City Cowboy Band formed in Dodge City, Kansas between 1879 and 1880 and served as a booster for the town of Dodge
City and its citizens. The band was formed and organized by Chalkley McArtor “Chalk” Beeson (April 24, 1848-August 8, 1912),
the owner of the Long Branch Saloon. Beeson conducted the band with a revolver, and the musicians dressed as cowboys. Although
the band was started in and promoted Dodge City and idea of the Wild West, the band was comprised of professional musicians
from Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Pueblo, Colorado Police Officer Jack Sinclair became the director in 1890
and moved the band’s base to Pueblo, but they continued to tour all over the United States. Benjamin M. Wilson was the band’s
general manager in both Dodge City and Pueblo. The band enjoyed much popular success and also enjoyed notable appointments
such as being one of the bands invited to play at the inaugural celebration for President Benjamin Harrison in 1889 and an
appointment as regimental band for the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in Cuba during the Spanish American War. In 1916, Sinclair composed
their final performance, an opera titled “The Cowboy’s Dream." The opera’s main character is Prairie Flower, portrayed by
director Jack Sinclair’s daughter, Edith Frances Sinclair.
Information taken from The Autry website and from Steve Beeson's book on the Beeson/Beason family - Family History Center
microfilm #1035659, Item #9 via http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~beeson/chalkley.html.
The collection consists of four acquisitions:
- 86.23: Purchase from R. L. Wilson, 1986 July 22;
- 88.101: donation from Bill Bowman, 1988 July 22;
- 94.155: Donation from Professor Ralph Levy, 1986 August 26;
- 2001.35: Purchase from High Noon Western Collectibles, 2001 September 4.
Scope and contents
This collection contains promotional materials and memorabilia for the Dodge City Cowboy Band, sheet music used by the Dodge
City Cowboy Band, and personal papers of band director Jack Sinclair, his wife, and their daughter Edith.
The collection of Dodge City Cowboy Band promotional materials and memorabilia date from 1880 to 1916. Many items refer to
the band’s final opera “The Cowboy’s Dream.” Items in this series include a business card, display labels, newspaper clippings,
notes, paste-up sheets, framed and unframed photographs, a postcard, posters, programs for “The Cowboy’s Dream,” a scrapbook,
and stationery for the Dodge City Cowboy Band, some of which features Edith Frances Sinclair as Prairie Flower.
The Dodge City Cowboy Band Sheet Music series includes hand-written and printed sheet music by Jack Sinclair and by others.
The papers of Jack Sinclair and his family date from 1866-1929 and include correspondence, a 1921 newspaper clipping about
Sinclair’s efforts as a police officer, a receipt, and photographs. Some of the photographs are of Native Americans with hand-written
labels by Major Ted Powell, sent to Mrs. Jack Sinclair in 1929.
Initial inventory, physical processing, and cataloging by Autry National Center staff. Additional processing and finding aid
completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Project Archivist, June 14, 2012, made possible through grant funding from the National
Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications
and Records Commission (NHPRC).
- Series 1: Dodge City Cowboy Band Papers
- Series 2: Sheet Music
- Series 3: Sinclair Family Papers
Related archival materials
Dodge City Cowboy Band papers, Kansas Historical Society, Topeka, Kansas.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Wilson, Benjamin M.
Brass band music
Dodge City (Kan.)
Music -- United States
Operas -- Scores and parts
Police -- Colorado