Scope and Content
The collection consists largely of photographs of the O'Donel family, their friends, and employees on the Bell Ranch. There are many photographs of Bette and Nuala, daughters of Charles and Louise Harrel O'Donel, from infancy through adulthood. The bulk of the collection is of ranching activities that include branding and herding cattle, building corrals, and riding horses. Polo games on the ranch appear in some pictures. Ranch buildings, the O'Donel home, animals, and wagons--including chuckwagons-- are included. Pictures of O'Donel's original home in Ireland, family vacation spots in California, family shots in Denver, and trips to Mexico and Guatemala form part of the collection. Folder 1 contains photographs taken by the Chase Studio in Denver. Prints are 33 x 25 cm. or smaller and photo albums are 26 x 26 cm., or smaller.
The collection is open for research.
Duplication allowed for research purposes in most cases. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.
Charles M. O'Donel, ranch manager, was born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1860. Following his education "on the continent", he graduated from Sandhurst Military College, Britian's "West Point". O'Donel resigned a position as captain in the British army to come to the United States with his brother, Manus. They arrived in New Orleans; Charles continued on to Texas, where he started working as a cowboy in 1885. O'Donel arrived at the Bell Ranch on June 2, 1898 as general manager, succeeding Arthur J. Tisdall who had died 2 months earlier. O'Donel operated the ranch primarily as a cow and calf ranch, with the priority of continually improving the quality of the herd. For most of his tenure, O'Donel had the opportunity to shape policy and develop his own interests, essentially molding the operations of the Bell Ranch. He is credited with using technology and science to turn the Bell into a forward-looking, well-planned modern cattle operation.
558 plus items (5 boxes) : 551 photographic prints, 7 photograph albums ; prints: 33 x 25 cm or smaller
Language of Materials