Folklorist and oral history pioneer Mody Boatright was no stranger to the tall tale. Raised in a West Texas ranching family in the early twentieth century, he was descended from pioneers, cattlemen, and merchants. He grew up immersed in stories of the Texas frontier. In 1934, Boatright published his first book, Tall Tales from Texas Cow Camps, which gathered stories from his childhood and from his many students who were also raised on ranches. Boatwright also recorded the folklore of the Texas oilfields, presenting the hardworking drillers and roughnecks as the mythical figures of a new age in American industry. More»

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Mody Coggin Boatright. From Ernest B. Speck, ed., Mody Boatright, Folklorist: A Collection of Essays (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973). Courtesy of Texas Folklore Society.