Books We Love: Back-Tracking In Memory

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All the world remembers Charlie Russell, Montana’s cowboy artist, who died in 1926 at the height of his career, but only a few remember his wife Nancy Cooper Russell. Russell married Nancy in 1896. He was half cowboy, half artist. He had achieved a local reputation for his drawings but had not dreamed of his possibilities.  Nancy became his manager, recognizing the value of his paintings, and pushed him forward.  Many who knew the pair agreed that if it had not been for Nancy, the artist would never have achieved greatness.

Nancy Cooper Russell was eighteen when she married Charlie and he was thirty-two.  She adored her husband and believed in his talent.  Traveling with him as his business manager, she sought out art enthusiasts who liked his work. She took him to London and Paris, where his paintings were exhibited and where his reputation became international. Back-Tracking in Memory is Nancy’s biography of the man she was convinced was “one of the greatest souls this country has ever known.”

Edited by Thomas A. Petrie, former Chair of the C. M. Russell Museum Board of Directors, and Professor Brian W. Dippie, Nancy’s touching, and endearing book includes poems, letters, and artwork by her husband, and photographs of their life together. 

Back-Tracking in Memory is a treasure—a moving tribute to a brilliant artist and the woman who was devoted to him.

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