Related Titles, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xvi

The Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas, is a high-stepping, warm-hearted Wild West dance that can’t be compared to anything else in the world. I’ve had the honor to perform at this high-spirited, family-oriented musical Christmas celebration since 1993. ...

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Preface

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pp. xvii-xx

The Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball is a folk dance festival that carefully re-creates a frontier celebration first held in Anson, Texas, during the mid-1880s. Nearly 130 years later, local and regional leaders continue to stage the event in Anson the weekend before Christmas. ...

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1. Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball: The Background

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pp. 3-20

It started as a wedding dance; it became a national treasure. It started as a local celebration; it became an American icon. This grand event, the Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, occurs in the small town of Anson, Jones County, Texas, each December. It is a beautiful, family-oriented pageant and dance that enjoys an international reputation, attracting people from across the United States and from Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. ...

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2. Anson and Jones County in the 1880s

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pp. 21-36

When Larry Chittenden’s “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” was written in the late 1880s, Anson was the quiet, little administrative seat of Jones County. In 1880, the town, named Jones City at the time, had a population of twenty, which increased rapidly after Jones City became the county seat in late 1881. ...

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3. Larry Chittenden: His Life and Letters

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pp. 37-56

William Lawrence “Larry” Chittenden (1862–1934) was a dry goods merchant, newspaperman, rancher, poet, intellectual, and adventurer who could not long remain in one place. He moved about the United States from New York to Texas and back to the Atlantic Coast. ...

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4. Explicating Chittenden’s Popular Poem

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pp. 57-78

Larry Chittenden came to Texas and Jones County in 1883. He attended his first Anson western dance party during the Christmas season in 1885, and he wrote “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball” after attending one or two additional Christmas-time dances.1 ...

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5. Cowboy Poetry and Pioneer Dances

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pp. 79-92

In the 1880s, when Larry Chittenden wrote “The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball,” folk poetry and rural, agrarian music fell easily into traditional dance and muse forms that were popular on the westward-moving Texas frontier. ...

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6. Michael Martin Murphey and the Modern Cowboys’ Christmas Ball

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pp. 93-118

Michael Martin Murphey, the Country Music Association award– winning musician and member of the Western Music Hall of Fame, seems like a natural to headline the Texas Cowboys’ Christmas Ball reenactment and celebration. ...

Notes

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pp. 119-132

Bibliography

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pp. 133-140

Index

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pp. 141-148