Trinidad Historical Society presents "Jack Thorpe, Songs of the Cowboy" , Nov. 4, at TSJC


Mark Gardner, historian and former director of the Trinidad History Museum, will be the guest speaker for the Trinidad Historical Society Fall Program on Friday, November 4, at 7:00 pm. The public is welcome to the presentation and reception, which well be held in the General Purpose Room in the Sullivan Center at Trinidad State Junior College.

A professional historian, musician, author, editor, and consultant, Gardner has worked with the National Park Service, National Geographic, PBS Television, the Colorado Historical Society, Colorado Endowment for the Humanities, and numerous state and local historic sites and museums. He writes for both popular and scholarly audiences and has published with several magazines, academic journals, and university presses.

"Jack Thorp, Songs of the Cowboy,” edited by Gardner for the University of New Mexico Press, is his newest project and the topic of the presentation. The multi-media show includes a talk about how the book came to be, a power point presentation about Thorp, and favorite songs written and collected by Thorp and sung by Gardner.

In addition to research and writing, Gardner studies and performs Western music that was popular in the 19th and 20th centuries. He has entertained audiences at venues ranging from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.

Many of you have heard him perform at the Trinidad History Museum or Santa Fe Trail Festival. As a special autumn treat from the Trinidad Historical Society to local residents, Gardner is back in town with a new performance based on the old western songs of Jack Thorpe.

In 1908, a local rancher and surveyor by the name of N. Howard “Jack” Thorp walked into the cramped offices of the “Estancia News” in Estancia, New Mexico, and asked about publishing a small book of “cowboy songs.” For more than 19 years, Thorp sought out cowboy ballads and poems throughout the West. He is recognized as the first person to take a serious interest in collecting and preserving ballads written by ranchers to calm cattle on the range. Thorp also wrote a few ditties himself.

The book is a new edition of an oft-reprinted classic featuring an essay by Gardner and line illustrations by noted western artist and rancher Ron Kil. Included with the book is a CD recording of a selection of songs performed by Gardner and Rex Rideout on period instruments.

The Trinidad Historical Society has replaced their usual fall banquet with this special program to highlight western music and history and give everyone the opportunity to visit with Mark Gardner at a reception in his honor. We hope to see you there!

Admission to the event is $10 per person. For reservations and more information, contact historical society board member Mary Ellen Hadad at Hadad’s Home Furnishings, at 131 East Main, Trinidad, or call 846-3373.

See Mark's Website: