Cowboys and the Old West in wallpaper

Posted on | December 3, 2009 | 10 Comments

Yup, why these here examples illustrate some of the most common “themed” papers printed during the mid-century look back at our historic past: wallpapers with cowboy and western motifs.

Cowboy 1

Maybe it was a product of Cold War angst, (and the thought of building a bomb shelter in your backyard), I don’t know… but as designers and manufacturers in the 1950s looked toward the future and the conquest of space, they also seemed to cast an ambivalent eye back toward bygone eras.

Cowboy 2

The frontier life of the Old West was being played out all over again, not just in wallpaper, but in movies, magazines, books and television.  Action-packed tales of gunslingers and desperadoes, cowpunchers and horse wranglers captured the imaginations of adults as well as children.  Evocative wallpapers like these depicting some of the action adorned the walls of young boys’ bedrooms all over the country back then, and have even seen something of a resurgence in popularity during the last decade with those restoring old ranch-styled homes.

Cowboy 3

My special thanks to the always generous Mr. Scott Cazet for sharing some of these vintage wallpapers with us!


10 Responses to “Cowboys and the Old West in wallpaper”

  1. Beverly
    December 3rd, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

    Great post Steve! Yee Haw! I wonder if a Cowboy collection is in our future?

  2. 50s Pam
    December 4th, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

    Howdy, pardner, and thanks for featuring these. I love love love novelty prints! I particularly like that first image with the pine.

    In the postwar era, the ranch house and California living were coming on strong…and we also see a lot of knotty pine walls — which could be installed DIY. So I think that these cowboy papers fit right into that trend. If you really stop to think about and analyze it, we are a nation of cowboys and cowgirls… a pioneering people… this is still today a huge part of the American identity.

  3. Lisa
    December 4th, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

    So dang cute! Makes me wish I had a little boy!

  4. steve
    December 4th, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    Closer than you think!

  5. steve
    December 4th, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    Thanks Pam and well said. Yeah, there is something really charming about the 50s novelty papers, very child-like and still appealing after 50+ years. Ahh, so many ranch houses, so little time!

  6. TC
    December 17th, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

    This post reminds me of some warm and fuzzy, yet still timeless and wise words:

    Blue shadows on the trail
    Little cowboy, close your eyes and dream
    All of the doggies are in the corral
    All of your work is done
    Just close your eyes and dream little pal
    Dream of someone

    Boom boom boom boom….

  7. Jack Hoffmann
    December 27th, 2009 @ 7:43 am

    I grew up in Indianapolis IN with cowboy wallpaper in my bedroom. I have always since been involved with horses, I am 60 now and have four. Connection, who knows?

  8. steve
    December 28th, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    Thanks Jack! Maybe there is some connection? I imagine you’re relieved that, in retrospect, your parents hadn’t originally chosen a “Bozo the Clown” theme for your wallpaper instead!

  9. Carol Tapia
    January 6th, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

    Oh, I hope a cowboy theme paper will be in our future. Love it. What don’t I love at Bradbury and Bradbury? The customer service is excellent, bar none.

  10. steve
    January 6th, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    Carol, thank you so much! We have excellent customers also!
    We do try to give the best service we can and I’m very proud of the people we have who work with all of our customers, (and the folks who are behind the scenes here also)!

    We’re getting some very enthusiastic responses to those cowboy papers!


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