Prep School Cowboys

Prep School Cowboys

Ranch Schools in the American West

Book - 2015
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Univ of New Mexico Pr

"An engaging, well-researched account of the private schools that proliferated in the interwar years in the American Southwest. Bingmann does an excellent job of situating these schools in the context of the history of American education."--Lynn Dumenil, author of The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s

Ranch schools in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Wyoming in the 1920s and 1930s portrayed that the West embodied the moral attributes believed to be lacking in urban America. Advocates of character education saw the courage and self-reliance of the Old West as the qualities necessary to preserve the nation through the next generation. Bingmann uses ranch schools, designed to counteract the problems of inherited wealth, as a lens through which to examine citizenship, class, gender, and region during this era while illustrating that these schools, in transmitting such values to American youth, created a network of elite private schools that gave pampered boys from the urban centers of the Atlantic Seaboard and Great Lakes region the opportunity to grow into gentlemen cowboys ready to take the reins of power in family businesses and government.

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With oral history interviews contributing color to the American West ranch-school narrative between the two world wars, Bingmann describes how the rich turned their boys into men, instilled them with desired character traits and thereby provided the next generation of bigwigs. Citing the close parallel historically of the rise and decline of Arizona’s ranch school and the twentieth-century West, she recounts how the need to solicit easterners and their investments to Arizona for the rural idyllic image later gave way to urban residential and commercial growth, and led to schools broadening their markets to include diversity in the post-World-War-II era. Five chapters cover the problem of the rich man’s son; private school education in the West; constructing the West; the West as moral space: character, citizenship, and masculinity; and ranch school families. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780826355430
Branch Call Number: 373.222 B5139p 2015
Characteristics: xxvi, 230 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


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