A Schoolboy’s Sketchbook


Much as I longed to possess the sketchbook, I couldn’t afford the price being asked for it, and it was returned to the Veerhoff Galleries. I tried to learn something of its history, but about the only information I could elicit was that it had come from a Washington, D.C., family, membcrsof which had known Charlie from his boyhood. Two or three years later I heard that the sketchbook was being offered for sale in Los Angeles, and I eventually learned that it had been purchased by my good friends Robert and Margaret Warden of Great Falls, Montana. So these sketches are now in good hands in Charlie Russell’s country.

Charlie Russell had never seen a Plains Indian, a cowboy, or a grizzly bear in their native habitats when these sketches were executed. Even at this early age they show his intense interest in the many facets of the West. They also reveal, as nothing else could, how far he had to go to perfect his skills; and when compared with his drawings of only a few years later, how well and how fast he progressed. It is these elements that mark the significance of the Warden collection of Russell sketches.