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N. Howard Thorp Papers: Finding Aid
mssThorp papers  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: N. Howard Thorp Papers
    Dates (inclusive): 1908-1999
    Collection Number: mssThorp papers
    Creator: Thorp, N. Howard (Nathan Howard), 1867-1940.
    Extent: 870 pieces. 7 boxes.
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2129
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: This collection constitutes the literary archive of New Mexico author N. Howard (Nathan Howard) "Jack" Thorp (1867-1940). It includes original manuscripts of Thorp's stories, as well as songs, correspondence, a diary, photographs and related publications.
    Language: English.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    John and Joyce Stauffer retain the literary rights of N. Howard (Nathan Howard) “Jack” and Annette Thorp. Please refer all inquiries regarding permission to publish or quote from their writings to the curator of the collection.
    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. N. Howard Thorp Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Gift of John and Joyce Stauffer, June 1999.

    Biographical Note

    Howard (Nathan Howard) “Jack” Thorp was born on June 10, 1867, the youngest of three sons of a New York City lawyer and real estate investor. He spent summers on his brother’s ranch in Nebraska, and at the age of nineteen he moved to Nebraska and then to New Mexico. Over the years he worked as a cowboy, operated ranches, worked as a civil engineer, raised cattle and sheep, and served as cattle inspector for the state of New Mexico. Thorp married Annette Hesch in December 1903, and the two of them lived in Palma and Santa Fe before moving to Alameda, New Mexico in 1935.
    Thorp began collecting and writing cowboy songs in 1889, and in 1908 his Songs of the Cowboys was published in Estancia, New Mexico. An expanded version of Songs of the Cowboys was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1921, and Thorp’s later publications included Tales of the Chuck Wagon (1926) and Pardner of the Wind: Story of the Southwestern Cowboy (published posthumously in 1941 with Neil M. Clark). His fiction and poetry also appeared in New Mexico Magazine, The Cattleman, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, and Literary Digest. His book-length story targeted towards a younger audience, Cowland, remains unpublished. Thorp also worked for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) New Mexico Federal Writers’ Program from 1936-1939.
    Thorp died at his Alameda, New Mexico, home on June 4, 1940.

    Scope and Content

    This collection constitutes the literary archive of New Mexico author N. Howard (Nathan Howard) “Jack” Thorp. It includes original manuscripts of Thorp’s stories, as well as songs, correspondence, a diary, photographs, and related publications.
    Of note is the complete manuscript of Thorp’s unpublished Cowland, various pack trip descriptions written for the New Mexico Federal Writers’ Program, and the extensive files of cowboy songs written and collected by Thorp. In the oversize box are some journals kept by Thorp, correspondence (including 2 letters from Eugene Manlove Rhodes and 4 from Frank Dobie), 3 photographs and printed materials. There is some correspondence which concerns Thorp’s unsuccessful attempts to obtain and retain copyright for his song, “Little Joe the Wrangler.”
    The collection also includes some materials by and related to Thorp’s wife, Annette Heslop Thorp (found in Box 7). Mrs. Thorp’s papers contain some original manuscripts, many of which reflect Southwestern folklore, history and traditions.


    Arranged in the following series: 1. Manuscripts (Boxes 1-4); 2. Songs (Box 5); 3. Oversize materials (Box 6); 4. Annette H. Thorp (Box 7).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


    Thorp, Annette Hesch.
    Thorp, N. Howard (Nathan Howard), 1867-1940.
    United States. Works Progress Administration.
    Federal Writers' Project. New Mexico.
    Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives.
    Cowboys -- New Mexico -- Archives.
    Cowboys -- Fiction.
    Cowboys -- Poetry.
    Cowboys -- West (U.S.) -- Folklore.
    Cowboys -- West (U.S.) -- Songs and music -- Texts.
    Cowboys' writings, American -- History -- Sources.
    Folklore -- New Mexico.
    Folklore -- West (U.S.)
    Outdoor recreation -- New Mexico.
    Ranch life -- New Mexico.
    Ranching -- New Mexico.
    New Mexico -- History -- Sources.
    West (U.S.) -- History -- Sources.


    Letters (correspondence) -- New Mexico -- 20th century.
    Manuscripts -- New Mexico -- 20th century.
    Manuscripts for publication -- New Mexico -- 20th century.
    Songs -- New Mexico -- 20th century.

    Additional Contributors

    Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964.
    Rhodes, Eugene Manlove, 1869-1934.
    Thorp, Annette Hesch.