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The first book on the life and art of Joe De Yong (1894 - 1975) - the only protege of western artist Charles M. Russell.
117 backers pledged $22,387 to help bring this project to life.

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Joe De Yong (1894 - 1975)
Joe De Yong (1894 - 1975)

 

About the Book

“Joe De Yong: A Life in the West” is the story of a passionate cowboy's life in the America West during the first part of the last century. Over ten years of research has revealed the life of a relatively unknown artist/illustrator who started out to be “just a cowboy." Turns out, Joe De Yong was quite a "mover and shaker" who touched the lives of so many in the western art world of the 1920s through the late 1960s. His was a life of challenges, including overcoming cerebral meningitis in 1913 that left him totally deaf. Never one for self-pity, De Yong went on to become the only protégé of his artistic hero - the legendary Montana artist, Charles M. Russell.  He would take the skills he learned and make a life in the movie business working with Cecil B. DeMille and many others.

Joe De Yong sketching in the Judith Basin, Montana
Joe De Yong sketching in the Judith Basin, Montana

This is a grand, untold story and the goal here is to raise the funding to get the book to print and into your hands. All the research, photography has been done and paid for; the money raised on Kickstarter will go to printing books and shipping them to readers.

De Yong costume sketch - 1938
De Yong costume sketch - 1938

How You Can Help.

Joe DeYong’s story is an important one in the history of the art and culture of the American West. Your funding of $50.00 or more assures you a signed copy of this effort. Together we can bring Joe’s story to life.

About Joe DeYong (1894 – 1975)

Joseph Franklin De Yong was born in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. He had an immediate attraction to the cowboy way of life and when he was not at school he would help out a local ranches. If he wasn’t riding he was sketching the subjects he loved the most – cowboys and horses. At 13 years of age, he started working a local ranch when he heard a movie was being made in the area and they need cowboys. He jumped at the chance and met the silent-screen's ultimate cowboy of the day, Tom Mix. Joe was hit with the idea of acting in moving pictures and followed the film company to Arizona in 1913. Somehow he came down with what was called at the time “cerebral meningitis” which would leave him totally deaf.

Joe De Yong, 1919
Joe De Yong, 1919

Undeterred and further focused on his love of the cowboy ways, De Yong recuperated by traveling the West - including seeing in an exhibit in Wyoming of the works of the renowned artist, Charles M. Russell. The exhibit stopped young Joe in his tracks and he started writing to Russell resulting in Joe’s opportunity to move to Great Falls, Montana in late 1914 to work with Russell in his studio. De Yong would be the first and only protégé of Russell’s staying with him - and his wife Nancy Russell - until CM Russell’s death in 1926. De Yong moved to Santa Barbara, CA at the urging of Russell and his mutual friend, artist Edward Borein. Borein would introduce De Yong to people in his circle that led to a meeting with film producer Cecil B. DeMille. De Yong would go on to a diverse career in the movie business, writing and creating artwork until his death in 1975. Joe De Yong contributed much to the fabric of the cultural West and most importantly brought people together to understand and appreciate the need for authenticity and detail in the representation of the pre-1900, American West. A West that both he and Russell knew was rapidly disappearing. After Russell’s death, De Yong dedicated his life to making sure the West he and Russell loved would not be forgotten.

About the book

 

Alice and Will James (left) with Joe De Yong at right.
Alice and Will James (left) with Joe De Yong at right.

◊ case bound with dust jacket

◊ Hundreds of full color rare and many, never seen photographs, artworks, sketches by Joe De Yong. Many letters, articles and notes – most in Joe’s own hand will be included.

◊ Page count – over 300 pages

◊ The book will be published and marketed by the author’s imprint, Alamar Media.

Thank You. I am deeply grateful to everyone who has stopped by and supported this important project about a significant American and Western artist. Thank you.

Risks and challenges

There are few challenges in the publishing of this book as all the hard and truly expensive parts are finished. The book is researched, photos and artwork collected, all usage fees paid along with all the travel and interviews done along the way. We are raising the funds in order to get the presses started and ship books. The only real risk is we don't raise the needed funds. I have indicated $15,000 as the amount to be raised which is the major part of the printings costs - and I will pay the balance - already put aside. I feel it's a must for me to have skin in the game beyond just the writing and the research. You can contact me at anytime as I will be giving updates on the process.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    HARDCOVER EDITION

    You'll receive a signed-by-the-author copy of the book. We will be doing a limited printing, so this will guarantee you get a signed, first edition copy!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MAKE IT A DOUBLE!

    Order two signed copies of the hardcover edition - get one for yourself and send one to a saddle pal and as a bonus you will receive two signed, bookmarks, illustrated with a Joe DeYong sketch.

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    Pledge $165 or more About $165

    De Yong broadside & 2 signed books

    An 11” x 17” broadside features a De Yong pen and ink and poem – featured in the book - about one of Joe’s best friends – his rope! It’s a letterpress broadside pulled by master letterpress craftsman John Balkwill at Lumino Press in Santa Barbara. And this includes two signed De Yong book and bookmarks– also pulled by Mr. Balkwill.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Four Signed Books and Bookmarks

    Here's an easy way to pledge and reserve more books - get four signed books and bookmarks.

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    Signed Book plus Beeler book & sketch

    Joe Beeler was a dear friend of Joe’s and De Yong was a mentor to him as well as to artist Vel Miller. This premium is a first edition volume of Beeler’s 1967 book “Cowboys and Indians” and comes along with signed and framed sketch by Beeler drawn on Montana’s OW Ranch in the 1990s. There is only one of this premium and of course it comes with a signed De Yong book and bookmark.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Signed Book and photo of Bill Hart

    Silent screen cowboy star, William S. Hart was a close friend of De Yong's during and after Charlie Russell's death. In addition to your signed copy and book mark comes a framed, signed silver print of William S. Hart along with an additional signature.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Eight Signed Books and Bookmarks

    Here's a way to get more books with a pledge or to adjust your existing pledge to include more copies. All are signed and include the letterpress bookmark.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SIGNED BOOK AND JOE BEELER PRINT

    In addition to a signed copy of the book and bookmark, this reward includes a signed print - from the book - by the late artist Joe Beeler (1931 - 2006) - a close friend of DeYong's. The print, titled "Shade" is one of five signed in the 1990s by - and in collaboration with - Joe Beeler (1931-2006).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    SIGNED BOOK & DeYONG WATERCOLOR

    After you have finished the signed copy of the book you received, you can concentrate on hanging an original costume sketch by Joe DeYong as illustrated in the book. And of course you can mark the page with your signed-by-the-author book mark.

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    Pledge $1,100 or more About $1,100

    Signed book and Jo Mora carte

    Joe De Yong enjoyed the authentic nature of artist Jo Mora's (1876 - 1947) work in his 1946 book "Trail Dust and Saddle Leather" and later in Mora's 1949,posthumously published "Californios." Both books influenced a number of the stories he would write and illustrate for Western Horseman magazine from 1948 - 1950. This special premium comes from Peter Hiller at the Jo Mora Trust and is an original 1945 version of Mora's carte of California (18 x 24). In addition, backer will receive a sign De Yong book and bookmark plus three rare books on Jo Mora: “Back to the Drawing Board” by Julianna Burton-Carvajal; “Joe Mora: Renaissance Man of the West” by Stephen Mitchell and “Collecting Jo Mora by Grandeau and Shorts. 1 available

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    Pledge $1,200 or more About $1,200

    Signed book and De Yong leather art

    In addition to a signed book and letterpress bookmark you'll receive an original piece of De Yong's "electric needle" art depicting a rider and reluctant mule. This piece is 10" x 27" long and is beautifully framed.

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    Signed book and Borein book

    This premium level includes a signed De Yong book and bookmark and a Fine Binding Edition Of ten etchings pulled from original Edward Borein plates authenticated by De Yong’s friend and Borein expert, the late Harold Davidson. This superbly custom bound, limited edition containing ten important etchings pulled from the original Borein plates including – Cinch Binder, Bronc Breaker, Scratchin' High, Bronco, Cutting Back Strays, Blackfoot Chiefs, Hopi Boys, The Wooden Bridge at Taos, and Mission San Antonio De Padua. Limited to a total of fifty twenty-five presentation editions, the volume bound in full English calf leather covers with richly gilt fronts and backs; spine finished with gold ornamentation and raised bands; top edge full gilt both inside front and back covers finished with gold dentelles. Each volume is housed in a slipcase with handmade marbled paper with top and bottom and finger pulls in fine leather. This book was created and published in 2002 by my father, John T. Reynolds, who passed away way too soon in 2008. There are only three available.

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    Signed Book and A.Harmer Watercolor

    In addition to a signed book and bookmark you will receive a watercolor of the California Mission San Luis Rey. Artist Alexander Harmer (1856-1925) was a friend of Joe De Yong’s in Santa Barbara. De Yong had been introduced to Harmer by Charles Lummis – a friend of Russell’s and Edward Borein’s. Harmer is considered the first painter of California’s vaquero culture and did a number of paintings of the California Missions. This watercolor of the Mission San Luis Rey is 6” x 14” and is matted and framed.

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    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Signed Book and A. Harmer gouache

    This is the largest premium and hopefully a savvy collector will see the crazy-good value here. Alexander Harmer (1866 – 1925) was De Yong’s friend – and for a while his landlord as De Yong rented studio space from him. Harmer painted this gouache illustration for the 1914 book by Jarrett Richards, “Romance on El Camino Real.” Harmer illustrated the book with 13 gouaches and this one appears on page 15 – and yes along with your signed De Yong book and bookmark – you’ll received the framed painting and a first edition copy of Richards’ book. There is only 1 of this premium.
    It will be on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bill.reynolds.756
    for viewing as are all the premiums.

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Funding period

- (40 days)