Guide to the Singin' Sam Agins photograph collection,
1875-1990

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Agins, Sam.
Title: Singin' Sam Agins photograph collection
Dates: 1875-1990 ( inclusive )
1885-1980 ( bulk )
Quantity: 3.0 linear ft. (3 boxes)
Collection Number: USU_P0134
Summary: Photographs from the 1940s to the 1980s and photographic postcards with images from the 19th century. The majority are black & white silver gelatin prints, 8" x 10" or smaller, although there are a few color prints and a large number of postcards. There is a total of 105 photographs (11 in color), 126 black and white proof sheets, 59 postcards (1 in color), 76 black and white negatives, and 18 posters. The majority of the images range from 1960 to 1980 and consist of the various places and festivals where Agins performed, the people that he performed with, and photos used in the photo-essay, Round Legs. Also includes photographs of a portrait of Agins painted by John Henry Waddell. Many of the photos were taken by Frederica Agins, some by professional photographers and event photographers, and a few by Agins' fans. The postcards are reproductions of 19th century "old west" images including Buffalo Bill, Native Americans, cowboys, stagecoaches, etc. Many of the photographs have negatives.
Repository: Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives
Photograph Collection

Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
3000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3000
Phone: 435 797-2663
Fax: 435 797-2880
Email: scweb@usu.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Biographical Note

Singin' Sam Agins was born in Denver, Colorado on June 14, 1919 and he died in Sun City, Arizona on March 28, 1996. He was born with a congenital paralysis of both legs and only weighed 2 lbs. at birth. Agins was limited to using crutches or a wheelchair for mobility from childhood. Despite his disability he led a very active and full life. Sam's activities included guitar playing, making poetry, and writing and collecting music. In addition he was a leather craftsman, stringed instruments mechanic, and a maker of hand-tooled silver buckle jewelry and violins. On November 19, 1957 he married Frederica Agins (born May, 1938) and they had two sons, Judd and Joseph Agins.

Agins' passion was writing, collecting, and recording American folk songs, especially of the West. During the 1940s and 1950s he entertained disabled youth, veterans, and children in hospitals acting as an Ambassador of Goodwill Industries. In addition, he entertained prisoners in New Mexico, guests at dude ranches, and taught classes about folk singing throughout the American West. Agins was also the United States representative in 1976 at the Smithsonian Institution's Montreal Expo and also served as an expert on early American folk songs in Washington D.C. During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in the Festival of the American West and the Western Writers Conferences held in Logan, Utah.

Content Description

The collection includes photographs from the 1880s to the 1980s. The majority of the images are black-and-white silver gelatin prints, 8" x 10" or smaller although there are a few color prints and a large number of postcards. There is a total of 105 photographs (11 in color), 126 black and white proof sheets, 59 postcards (1 in color), 76 black and white negatives, and 18 posters. The majority of the images range from 1960 to 1980 and consist of the various places where Agins performed, the people that he performed with, and photos used in Round Legs. Many of the photos were taken by Frederica, some by professional photographers and event photographers, and a few by Agins' fans. The postcards are reproductions of 19th century "old west" images including Buffalo Bill, Native Americans, cowboys, stagecoaches, etc. Captions and some of the inscriptions (or parts of due to the length) are copied exactly as they appear on the photo inside of quotation marks with additional information enclosed in brackets. Many of the photographs have negatives.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  Restrictions

Open to public research.

Restrictions on Use :  Copyright

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Permission to publish material from the must be obtained from the Special Collections Photograph Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Alternative Forms Available :  

View selected digitized images in this collection from the Singin' Sam Agins Collection

Preferred Citation :  

Singin' Sam Agins photograph collection, 1875-1990. (P0134). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Photographs removed from album, in original order.

Acquisition Information :  

The collection was donated by Frederica Agins in 1997. The photographs were removed from the Singin' Sam Agins papers, MSS 230. Included in that collection are copies of the publication Round Legs, a photo-essay by Agins.

Processing Note :  

Register completed by Daniel Davis, February 2005.

Related Materials :  

Singin' Sam Agins papersCOLL MS 230


Detailed Description of the Collection

Album
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 1 1:01:01: Agins performing around the campfire at Desert Willow Ranch, Tucson, Arizona, "Desert Willow Ranch, Tucson AZ. 1949" photograph By Western Ways, Tucson Arizona 1949
1 2 1:02:01: Agins performing on KLZ Denver with radio personality Pete Smythe in a tribute to Sam's life. Photograph by C. A. Jackson Photographic Services, Denver, Colorado 1950s
1 3 1:03:01: Agins performing at a children's hospital in Denver, Colorado ca. 1940s
1 4 1:04:01: Performer (does not appear to be Agins) entertaining around a campfire, the "El Conquistador Hotel Breakfast Ride, Tucson, Arizona," ca. 1940s
1 5 1:05:01: Agins spinning a lasso around himself and a little girl ca. 1950s
1 6 1:06:01: Agins spinning a lasso around himself and several children ca. 1950s
1 7 1:07:01: Agins demonstrating a lasso on horseback ca. 1950s
1 8 1:08:01: Agins performing around a campfire, unidentified local
ca. 1960s
1 9 1:09:01: Agins performing around a campfire, unidentified local
see 1:08:01.
ca. 1960s.
1 10 1:10:01: Agins with unknown woman during a performance, possibly a recording session ca. 1970s
1 10 1:10:02: Formal studio portrait of Agins with his guitar ca. 1970s
1 10 1:10:03: Agins during a performance, possibly a recording session, with his fiddle ca. 1970s
1 10 1:10:04: Agins performing at the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum. Cody, Wyoming 1980

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John Henry Waddell original portrait of Agins
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 11 1:11:01: Color copy photographs of an original portrait of Agins by artist John Henry Waddell
see 1:15:03.
1 11 1:11:02: Color copy photographs of an original portrait of Agins by artist John Henry Waddell
see 1:15:03.
1 11 1:11:03: Agins, John Henry Waddell, and Lindsay Waddell with completed portrait
see 1:15:04.
1 11 1:11:04: Agins posing while John Henry Waddell paints
negative available.
1 11 1:11:05: Agins posing while John Henry Waddell paints
negative available.

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Smithsonian Institution album
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 12 1:12:01: Formal studio publicity portrait of Agins with his guitar ca. 1970s
1 12 1:12:02: Copy print of original photograph, the Agins family, "from L to R, Leona Agins, Harry Agins with Sam, Yetta Agins (standing) Bette Agins" ca. 1922
1 12 1:12:03: Agins as a young man, holding a string of fish, "Sammy" ca. 1940
1 13 1:13:01: Formal studio publicity portrait of Agins with his guitar. Photograph by Gaines of Tucson, Arizona ca. 1960s
1 13 1:13:02: Tracing from photograph 1:12:01
1 14 1:14:01: Agins performing around a campfire with guitar and mandolin. Photograph by Bob Woodall of Jackson Hole, Wyoming ca. 1970s
1 14 1:14:02: Agins performing around a campfire with guitar and mandolin. Photography by Bob Woodall of Jackson Hole, Wyoming ca. 1970s
1 14 1:14:03: Agins performing around a campfire with guitar and mandolin. Photography by Bob Woodall of Jackson Hole, Wyoming ca. 1970s
1 15 1:15:01: Proof sheet on 35mm negatives, Agins during an unidentified performance. Photographs by Gruenbaum ca. 1970s
1 15 1:15:02: Agins during performance. Photograph by Bob Krueger, Aspen, Colorado ca. 1970s
1 15 1:15:03: Photograph of an original portrait of Agins by Waddell
see 1:11:01-02,
1 15 1:15:04: Agins, John Henry Waddell, and Lindsay Waddell with completed portrait "Form L to R, John Henry Waddell , Sam Agins, Lindsay Waddell, John's son, Sam traded John a violin for Lindsay for the portrait"
see also 1:11:03
1 15 1:15:05-14: Agins, John Henry Waddell, and Lindsay Waddell with completed portrait
see also 1:11:03, negative available.
1 15 1:15:15: Proof sheet, fiddler Vasar Clements and others
negative available.
1 15 1:15:16: 35mm negatives of proof sheet
see 1:15:15.
1 16 1:16:01: Agins playing a duet on the fiddle
[two copies.]
ca. 1970s
1 1 1:16:01: Agins playing a duet on the fiddle [two copies], "Sam, after 20 years of playing the fiddle, has got to be one of the hottest fiddle players there is. Here Tom joins Sam in some duets." ca. 1970s
1 17 1:17:01: Agins in a motorized wheelchair ca. 1980s
1 18 1:18:01: Agins in his wheelchair, "Sam is one of a kind. Another man like him you'll never meet"
1 19 1:19:01: Agins talking with a young woman on an unidentified campus [two copies], "If a pretty lady isn't careful--Sam is sure to lasso her for a little chat. Diane, who is an education major, thought she was going to class--that was before she met Sam." ca. 1970s
1 19 1:19:01: Agins talking with a young woman on an unidentified campus
[two copies.]
ca. 1970s
1 201 1:20:01: Agins and other performers on stage at the 1979 San Diego Folk Festival. "Sam is a cowboy from way-back-when. Here these gentlemen (Left to Right, Sam, Bob, Neil, and Al) share their favorite cowboy songs with the audience, during the 1979 San Diego State Festival." 1979
1 21 1:21:01: Photocopy of a photo of Agins with his banjo
1 21 1:21:02: Agins seated with his feet on a desk, "Singin' Sam at the house of a friend circa 1980s."
1 21 1:21:03: Photo of Agins
1 21 1:21:04: Three 35mm negatives, left to right "our house - Sedona Az. early 70s, Sam, Sam and Judd, Mario Balza." 1970s
1 22 1:22:01: Agins performing at the Arizona Heritage Fest ca. 1980s

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Snapshot of Texas
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 23 1:23:01: Snapshot of Texas Jim Silver with his guitar
1 23 1:23:02: Snapshot of Texas Jim Silver with a record
1 23 1:23:03: Snapshot of Texas Jim Silver with his guitar

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The Western Horseman, Sept. 1960
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 24 1:24:01: Clayton Barnes demonstrating his horse shoeing machine at the Elkhorn Ranch, Montana, 1960. Photographs taken for The Western Horseman by Clayton Barnes 1960
1 24 1:24:02: Clayton Barnes horse shoeing machine, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:03: A group of men trying out the machine on a horse, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:04: Clayton Barnes horse shoeing machine, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:05: Men working on the horse shoeing machine, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:06: Clayton Barnes demonstrating the machine which raises the horse horizontal, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:07: "Clayton Barnes and Bob Miller demonstrating his horse shoeing machine, and an electric sander to remove a horse shoe, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:08: Clayton Barnes shoeing the horse, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:09: Clayton Barnes shoeing the horse, "Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960
1 24 1:24:010: "Clayton Barnes demonstrating his horse shoeing machine, and an electric sander to remove a horse shoe, Sep 1960, The Western Horseman" Sept 1960

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Faces [people making silly faces]
Container(s)
Description
Box
Folder
1 25 1:25:01-21. : 35mm negatives with proof sheet for book, Faces [people making silly faces]
Includes enlargements for 1:25:04, 1:25:16, and 1:25:21 [two copies.]
1 26 1:26:01-2: Proof sheet for book, Faces [people making silly faces.]
1 26 1:26:03-27: 35mm negatives with proof sheet for book, Faces [people making silly faces.]
1 26 1:26:28-36a: Proof sheet for book, Faces [people making silly faces.]
1 26 1:26:37: Envelope reading "Captions, 36a- 'Hi! Dad.', 29a- 'Can't believe I ate that whole persimmon!', 3a- 'Look Ma, I got cavities!'"

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Folder includes enlargements from 35mm negatives

[Note: These negatives had been cut into strips and stapled in a copy of the photo essay.]

Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
1 27
1:27:01-30: 35mm negatives with proof sheets taken for Round Legs 1989.)
1:27:01-4: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a woman walking with a wheelchair in the foreground
1:27:05-09: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair on a hill
1:27:05: Enlargement of a wheelchair on a hill
1:27:10-21: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair on ice, some have an ice skater also in the picture
1:27:11: Enlargement of a photo of a wheel chair on ice
1:27:25-30: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair in various settings
1:27:25: Enlargement of a photo of a wheel chair at the bottom of the stairs, "Three legs,...so what!"

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Folder includes enlargements from 35mm negatives

[Note: These negatives had been cut into strips and stapled in a copy of the photo essay.]

Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
1 28
1:28:01-22: 35mm negatives with proof sheets taken for Round Legs 1989.)
1:28:01-5: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair in various settings
1:28:01: Enlargement of a wheelchair next to a fire hydrant
1:28:04: Enlargement of a wheelchair at a bar
1:28:05: Enlargement of a wheelchair at a bar
1:28:06-7: Proof sheet of a wheelchair getting a speeding ticket
1:28:08-12: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair in various settings
1:28:09: Enlargement of a wheelchair getting towed
1:28:11: Enlargement of a wheelchair outside of a bathroom stall with a handicapped symbol
1:28:13: Enlargement of a wheelchair in front of a hand writing analysis table
1:28:13-16: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair in various settings
1:28:17-18: Proof sheet strip of a series of photos of a wheelchair on top of a mountain
1:28:19-22: Proof sheet strip of a series of wheelchairs in a row
1:28:20: Enlargement of a series of wheelchairs in a row
1:28:23: Proof sheet of a wheelchair surrounded by birds
1:28:24: Proof sheet of a wheelchair with a crab on it
1:28:25-39: 35mm negatives with proof sheets taken for Round Legs 1989.)
1:28:27: Enlargement of a wheelchair at a bar
1:28:31: Enlargement of a wheelchair at the top of a mountain
1:28:34: Enlargement of a wheelchair with a three legged dog sitting in it
1:28:37: Enlargement of a series of wheelchairs

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Photographs for Round Legs with no negatives
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
1 29
1:29:01: A wheelchair with a guitar in front of a log cabin
1:29:02: A wheelchair with a harp in front of a river
1:29:03: A wheelchair with a harp in front of a river
1:29:04: A wheelchair with birds
1:29:05: Proof sheet of various photos
1:29:06: A wheel chair with a crab on it

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Photographs from Rambler's Notebook
Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
1 30
1:30:01: A scenic roadside view of the sunset
negative available.
1:30:02: A women sitting on a rock next to water
negative available.
1:30:03: Agins sitting in a booth in front of a window with his truck in the background
negative available [Two copies.]
1:30:04: Proof sheet of Agins sitting in a booth in front of a window with his truck in the background
negative available [Two copies.]
1:30:05: Agins with a horse, photograph entitled, "The Horsetrader," used in poster with Agins' poem, "Eight Years Old, Comin' Nine,"
see 3:02.
1:30:06: Publicity photo of Agins
1:30:07: Agins playing a duet on the fiddle
[two copies], see 1:16:01.
ca. 1970s
1:30:08: Unknown man next to 'Singin' Sam' vehicle
negative available.

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Subordinate Component # 11
Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
1 31
Box
Folder
1 31 1:31:01: Snapshot, the Dillon Hotel 1940s
1 31 1:31:02: Postcard announcing a 1990 exhibit entitled "Survivors: Underemployed workers in Third World Streets" by photographer Rolf Kjolseth at the University of Colorado, Boulder. On front is an image of a woman and carring her child labeled, "Overworked and Underemployed"; verso is signed by the photographer to Agins 1990
1 31 1:31:03: Brochure with color photograph on folk legend Don Pablo (1898-1974.)
1 32 1:32:01: Pancho Villa and his men
1 32 1:32:02: Pancho Villa's corpse, with a group of men surrounding it
1 32 1:32:03: Pancho Villa's corpse, "Sadaver de Francisico Villa and Hotel Hidalgo Parral Chihva
1 32 1:32:04: "Rattlesnake killing rabbit" in verso "Lucy Brown, Billings, Montana"
1 32 1:32:05: Copy photograph of a brochure advertising Harter's Liver Pills
1 32 1:32:06: Copy photograph of a brochure advertising Harter's Liver Pills
1 32 1:32:07: Unidentified cowboy performing with a lasso
1 32 1:32:08: "Old Occidental Hotel Where the Virginian got his man Buffalo, Wyoming"

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
1 33
1:33:01: The Free State Saloon, Silverton, Colorado ca. 1960s
1:33:02: St. John's Hospital, Jackson, Wyoming ca. 1940s
1:33:03: Pioneer reenactment parade, Jackson, Wyoming. Cowboy Bar in background
1:33:04: Vista of Red River, New Mexico ca. 1940s
1:33:05: Catalina Mountains from front patio of the Rancho Del Rio, Tucson, Arizona
1:33:06: Ranch house and north patio, Rancho Del Rio, Tucson, Arizona
1:33:07: "Pony Express--1947 Model" [woman on a horse], Rancho Del Rio, Tucson, Arizona
1:33:08: Jesse W. James, with crossed pistols
1:33:09: Great Northern Express Car, after being dynamited by Franhauser and MacDonald in train holdup near Rexburg, Montana

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
1 34
1:34:01: Jesse James in 1948 and at the age of 17
1:34:02: Gunmen Cole and Bob Younger
1:34:03: Corpse of Charley Pitts
1:34:04: Myra Belle Shirley, a.k.a. Belle Starr
1:34:05: Headstone of Belle Starr
1:34:06: Corpse of Clell Miller
1:34:07: Schribner White Horse Stage, Walcott, Wyoming to Saratoga, Wyoming
1:34:08: "Comanche," only horse to survive Custer's Last Stand
1:34:09: Round up, Saratoga, Wyoming
1:34:10: Round up scene

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
1 35
1:35:01: Rankin Stage Line, Bragg, Wyoming to Rawlins, Wyoming
1:35:02: Round up scene
1:35:03: Calamity Jane in a dress
1:35:04: Calamity Jane in fringed pants
1:35:05: Covered wagon days in Wyoming
1:35:06: Buffalo Bill show
1:35:07: Jesse W. James at 104
1:35:08: Captain W.C. "Bloody Bill" Anderson at 84
1:35:09: Jesse and Frank James with their mother
1:35:10: Hunting scene on old Wyoming ranch

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
1 36
1:36:01: Rawlins, Wyoming--Front St. south of railroad tracks
1:36:02: Bull train, Saratoga, Wyoming
1:36:03: Round up wagon, Saratoga Valley, Wyoming
1:36:04: Old stage line encampment, Wyoming
1:36:05: Wagon train arriving in Rawlins, Wyoming
1:36:06: Indian babies in papooses, copyrighted 1898 by Lee Moorehouse
1:36:07: Old blacksmith shop
1:36:08: Mule team trains leaving Rawlins, Wyoming for Ft. Washakie-Lander
1:36:09: Front street in Rawlins, Wyoming
1:36:10: "Boney Earnest"--one time buffalo hunter, Alcova, Wyoming

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
2 1
2:01:01: Hanging--Rawlins, Wyoming man unknown
2:01:02: Elderly Indian woman
2:01:03: Sitting Bull, Bismarck, Dakota, 1885
2:01:04: Sautee ferry boat
2:01:05: Settler's home, Oahe, Dakota
2:01:06: Indian tepee
2:01:07: Wagon on the prairie
2:01:08: Cheyenne village on the Yellowstone [from a stereograph.]
2:01:09: A group of people with a dog in a car, appears to be decorated for a parade
2:01:10: Broken Arm Chief--Sioux

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Postcards
Container(s)
Description
box
folder
2 2
2:02:01: Indian chief
2:02:02: Curing buffalo hides--Cheyenne village [from stereograph.]
2:02:03: Mule train, James Carr's teams
2:02:04: Scaffolds--Indian dead bodies, Yankton Agency, Dakota Territory [from stereograph.]
2:02:05: Mountain man Jim Baker
2:02:06: Little Eagle
2:02:07: Indian encampment [from stereograph.]
2:02:08: Water team, Sautee, Nebraska

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Photos from the American West Heritage Center
Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
folder
2 3
2:03:01: Photo of the oxen team, 'Yankee and Doodle' with unknown man, "100% Ox team"
negative available.
2:03:02: Publicity photo of Singin' Sam Agins" "early '70s
2:03:03: Letter to Mr. Sherratt, VP for university Relations regarding the oxen team, 'Yankee and Doodle' from Russell G. Mawby President of W.K. Kellogg Foundation
2:03:04: Photo of the oxen team, 'Yankee and Doodle' with unknown man
negative available.
2:03:05: Biography of Peter Breck, from the Jay Bernstein Public Relations Inc March 1975
2:03:06-13: Publicity photos of Peter Breck
[Eight copies.]
2:03:14: Negative of 3:03:01,4

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Oversize, exhibition prints of photographs used in Agins' Round Legs (1989) and posters entitled, "The Horsetrader," used in poster with Agins' poem, "Eight Years Old, Comin' Nine"
Container(s)
Description
Dates
box
1
3:01: Agins demonstrating a lasso
3:02: Photograph entitled, "The Horsetrader," used in poster with Agins' poem, "Eight Years Old, Comin' Nine"
3:03: Poster entitled, "The Horsetrader," used in poster with Agins' poem, "Eight Years Old, Comin' Nine."as above
[Three copies.]
3:04-18 : Exhibition prints of photographs used in Agins' Round Legs 1989

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Subjects

    • Personal Names :
    • Agins, Sam--Photographs.
    • Waddell, John Henry--Photographs.
    • Corporate Names :
    • Festival of the American West--Photographs.
    • Titles within the Collection :
    • Round legs.
    • Subject Terms :
    • Agricultural experiment stations--Utah--Photographs.
    • Cowboys--United States--Photographs.
    • Folk musicians--West (U.S.)--Photographs.
    • People with disabilities--West (U.S.)--Photographs.
    • Geographical Names :
    • Bear Lake (Utah and Idaho)--Photographs.
    • Cache Valley (Utah and Idaho)--Photographs.
    • Logan (Utah)--Photographs.
    • Utah--Photographs.

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