The Wolfmen – 1925
Charlie Russell is born the same year Montana becomes a territory.
Russell arrives in Montana for the first time around age 16.
Russell spends time with the Blood Indians (a branch of the Blackfeet Nation) learning about their culture.
Ben Roberts, a saddlemaker in Helena, publishes a booklet of a dozen Russell illustrations titled Studies in Western Life; Roberts would also issue postcard reproductions of Russell’s small painting, Waiting for a Chinook. The postcards prove widely popular and help establish Russell’s reputation as a painter.
According to Russell, this is his last year tending cattle professionally. In the fall, after working the stock train to Chicago, he leaves cowboying to pursue a career as a painter. In winter Russell drifts between Helena, Great Falls, and Cascade and holds a small exhibition of his work in Helena.
By now, Russell is well-known throughout Montana. On September 9, he marries Nancy Cooper, who becomes instrumental in managing the business aspects of his career, earning him international fame in the process.
Six illustrations by Russell appear in Emerson Hough’s The Story of the Cowboy, a nonfiction account of Western life published in March. In late summer, The Russells move to Great Falls. Russell receives a commission for a watercolor from the mayor’s wife.
Russell begins doing business with the local W.T. Ridgley Printing Company, who publish a bound volume of twelve reproductions of Russell’s sketches, as well as separate prints for framing.
In November, Russell exhibits several of his watercolors at the Noonan-Kocian Company’s galleries in St. Louis. In December the Russells visit New York City for the first time; they stay for three months.
Russell creates the model for his first bronze, Smoking Up. Members of the New York Cooperative Society pay him for the rights to produce a limited number of the first bronze casts and one is later presented to President Theodore Roosevelt.
In October, Russell registers a trademark for his buffalo-skull motif, which he frequently includes alongside his signature in his paintings, with the United States Copyright Office.
Author and explorer Carrie Adell Strahorn publishes Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, a memoir of her travels; the book includes 85 illustrations by Russell. New York’s prestigious Folsom Galleries puts 31 pieces of Russell’s artwork on display.
At the request of his friend, Frank Linderman, Russell writes Montana Senator Henry L. Myers, on January 11, encouraging him to support Linderman’s proposal for a reservation for a band of Chippewa Indians led by Rocky Boy, a friend of Linderman’s.
Frank B. Linderman publishes Indian Why Stories: Sparks from War-Eagle’s Lodge- Fire; it includes a number of illustrations by Russell.
The last solo show held during Russell’s lifetime occurs at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, in February and includes 14 paintings and 14 sculptures.
Charlie Russell passes away. His funeral takes place in Great Falls on October 27. City businesses and schools are closed. At Russell’s request, his casket is borne in a horse-drawn hearse.
An anthology of Russell’s collected stories, Trails Plowed Under, is published with a foreword by Will Rogers.