Skip to main content

San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records

Identifier: MS-0507

Scope and Contents

The San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records document the publishing history and administrative organization of this non-profit entity dedicated to preserving the history of the American West. These records include correspondence, meeting notices and minutes, event information, membership rosters, financial statements, and documentation of the Corral’s creative output such as newsletters, book production materials, and sample book artwork. Although the collection dates from 1921-2013, the bulk of the materials primarily date from 1967-2012. The San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records is divided into six series: Administrative, Brand Book Production, The Wrangler Newsletter, Events, Lauren Post Files, and Associated Corrals.

The Administrative (1967-2013) series documents the operation of the Corral. The series is further divided into five sub-series: Official Documents, Correspondence, Meeting Notices and Minutes, Memberships, and FinancialOfficial Documents (1967-2009), arranged chronologically, includes bylaws and amendments, articles of incorporation, and tax documents. Correspondence (1967-2012), arranged chronologically, includes membership, Brand Book and newsletter correspondence, as well as the correspondence between key figures in the Corral, such as John Mason Jeffrey, the first Sheriff; Dr. Ray Brandes, the first Brand Book editor; Robert Long, and Horace Dodd. A highlight of this sub-series is extensive correspondence relating to the founding of the Corral and the vision for the group.  Meeting Notices and Minutes (1968-2010), arranged chronologically, include meeting minutes of the Trail Bosses (Board of Directors), Publication Committee, and Active Members.  Memberships (1967-2012), arranged alphabetically by subject, includes membership applications, registers, rosters, and member biographies. Of note are the early membership applications, which include descriptions of members’ areas of interest in Western lore and any publications they have written. Financial (1968-2013), arranged chronologically, includes budget and income reports, financial statements, and tax documents.

The Brand Book Production (1921-2007) is the largest series of the collection, comprising records of the nine Brand Books that the Corral produced during its forty-five year history. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject.  Providing insight into the creation of the Brand Books, this series includes extensive editor’s notes, correspondence, budgets, manuscripts, and artist information and samples. Of particular note is the step-by-step documentation for the material production of the books, including examples of binding in different stages of production and draft copies. The records for Brand Books 7 and 9 are the most comprehensive. The series also includes an unpublished manuscript by Joe Flynn, a journalist who later became a State Representative in Iowa.  The manuscript spans forty-one years, from 1921-1962, and includes his commentaries on political events, personal anecdotes, and travelogues.

The Wrangler Newsletter (1968-2007) series includes the entire thirty-nine year run of the newsletter, arranged chronologically by issue date. The newsletters featured articles on various aspects of the West, a Sheriff’s message, a recap of past group events, letters to the editor, book reviews, photographs, and artwork. The series also includes subject files, such as correspondence, design specifications, and meeting notes.  Some of the issues also include draft copies, as noted on the folder list.

The Events (1970-2012) series is arranged chronologically. Of particular interest is documentation of the Corral’s monthly roundup meetings. The meetings featured a guest speaker, a dinner, and an accompanying exhibit. The Corral also held annual Ladies Night celebrations, which invited the wives of the primarily male members to participate in art shows and listen to guest speakers. Additionally, the series documents the annual auctions that helped raise money for their publications. The series includes notices, invitations, auction catalogs, and keepsake artwork from the auctions. A highlight of the series is a 1998 proclamation from Mayor Susan Golding, honoring the Corral’s significant contribution in preserving the heritage of the American West. In the same year, the Corral received a Congress of History award for outstanding work in the “The Frontier of American Culture” exhibit.

The Lauren Post Files (1933-1976) document research and various writings of Lauren Post. Lauren Post was involved in the Corral in many capacities, including Sheriff. Post was professor of geography at San Diego State from 1937-1969. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject. This series features Post’s unpublished and published writing on various subjects of the West, including agriculture, California, cattle, and horses. The series includes articles, an acceptance speech, and book reviews.

The Associated Corrals (1962-2013) series documents the activities and administration of other Corrals, both national and international, and is arranged alphabetically by the name of the Corral.  Most of the records for the various Corrals are sparse and include items such as newsletters, events, photographs, and rosters. More extensive documentation exists for the Ranchos Del Norte Corral. Many members of the San Diego Corral were also members of Ranchos Del Norte. This file contains Range Rules, bylaws, correspondence, and monthly meeting invitations.


  • Creation: 1921-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1967-2012


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

The San Diego Corral of the Westerners is part of the Westerners non-profit organization, which began in 1944 and has both national and international membership. Chartered in 1967, the San Diego Corral of the Westerners was formed by people invested in sharing their love and knowledge of various facets of the American West. Additionally, the Corral was affiliated with Westerners International, a non-profit foundation first established in 1959 to facilitate communication and cooperation between the various Corrals and assist in the organization of new Corrals.

According to the San Diego Corral’s Articles of Incorporation, “The specific and primary purpose for which this corporation is formed is to enable men with the common interest to exchange information and knowledge relative to the cultural and historical background of what is commonly termed the West, and to record in permanent form the historical material which the members have and will assemble by diligent research, thus preserving items of Western Americana.” The group accomplished this goal in three ways: through monthly meetings, publication of a quarterly newsletter called The Wrangler, and publication of Brand Books.

Although the Corral was an exclusively male organization during its formative years, women became progressively more involved, at first through participating in the annual Ladies Night celebrations that featured art shows and guest speakers, and later through membership. Members gathered monthly to share their knowledge of the West. Meetings included guest speakers and exhibits. The Corral also held annual auctions to raise funds for their publications, The Wrangler newsletter and their Brand Books.

The Wrangler newsletter, published from 1968-2007, provided a forum for history buffs and scholars of Western lore to share their knowledge. According to the Corral’s stated goals, The Wrangler aimed to increase membership, promote the reputation of the Corral through excellence in publication, and provide articles of interest to its members. In addition to the newsletter, the Corral published nine Brand Books from 1968 to 1996. The limited edition, hard bound Brand Books represent the highest standards of scholarship and presentation that the Corral had to offer. The Brand Books were published as a significant part of their contribution to preserving an accurate and well researched history of the West. Brand Books included themed articles, illustrated art, maps, historic photographs, and archival materials.

Founding members of the Corral included Ray Brandes, Registrar of Marks and Brands (Secretary) and Brand Book Number One editor; Alfred JaCoby, Keeper of the Chips (Treasurer); John Jeffrey, Sheriff (President); Gerald MacMullen, Librarian; and Richard Yale, Deputy Sheriff (Editor of The Wrangler). Several active members held many positions over the years, including Horace Dodd, whose contributions included acting as Sheriff, Registrar of Marks and Brands, Keeper of the Chips, and editor of several Brand Books. In the last decade prior to dissolution, a core group of active members, such as Ken Cilch, Richard Lay, Robert Welch, Russell Litchfield, Bob Michaelis, and George Ellis, kept the Corral running by contributing in many capacities.

After many years of declining membership, the San Diego Corral of the Westerners dissolved in the first quarter of 2014.


12.74 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Administrative

    1. Official Documents

    2. Correspondence

    3. Meeting Notices and Minutes

    4. Memberships

    5. Financial

II. Brand Book Production

III. The Wrangler Newsletter

IV. Events

V. Lauren Post Files

VI. Associated Corrals

Source of Acquisition

Kenneth Cilch II / Corral of the Westerners



Related Materials

Lauren C. Post Papers, 1917-1977

Related Publications

San Diego Corral of the Westerners Records
Kira Hall
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US