Charlie Russell Illustrated Letter to Harry Carey

C.M. Russell's Cowboys Dig up the Booze

Charles Marion Russell (1864 - 1926)
"Friend Carey"
10" x 6 1/2"
Mixed media on paper
Illustrated, signed and dated Feb 25 1921 
To Henry DeWitt “Harry” Carey

Accompanied by an illustration of reveling cowboys with a shovel:

"Friend Carey
           Last year when I eat at the HC wagon you whispered to me that thair was som buried treasures on your ranch that wasent no cash of the Old Spanish Bandits  But a plant of your own in days when corn and rye juice could be got for one dollor a quart you were foxy and buried when you couldent swallow but not having the nose of the fox you couldent locate the cash   In these days of drouth there were times when it got on your nurvs.  You told me you were going to organize a small band of trusted booze hounds and go prospecting    I hope you raised the cash   we got your note and was glad to hear from you
    with best whishes to you and yours from me and mine
                         Your friend
                                 C M Russell"

PICTURED:  Brian W. Dippie, “Charles M. Russell, Word Painter: Letters 1887-1926,”  1993, pg 306; Charles M. Russell, “Good Medicine, Memories of the Real West,” 1929, pg 129.       PROVENANCE: Carey Family Trust

"What makes for a great Charlie Russell letter?  A sketch that expresses sentiment or humor. and a corresponding text. This short letter to Harry Carey is a jewel––an extended joke about Carey's dilemma trying to find a cache of booze he had hidden on his ranch prior to Prohibition. He had forgotten to mark the spot, and a year after America went dry was getting mighty thirsty.  Charlie's letter takes off from that set-up.  Its joshing attests to the warm friendship that had sprung up between the Russells and the Careys after Charlie and Nancy made their first excursion to Southern California in 1920." 
           -- Brian W. Dippie, November 2014

Brian Lebel's High Noon Auction, Jan 24, 2015
SOLD $126,500