Pony Express Diamond Jubilee

April 10, 2010 - During the Great Depression, the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Pony Express captivated public attention. Boy Scouts carried mail along the trail route and presented it to President Roosevelt, who said This is something fine to add to my stamp collection. This lecture includes photographs and film clips from the Howard R. Driggs Archive at Southern Utah University that capture the excitement of the historic rerun. Driggs, a historian, was president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, which sponsored the Diamond Jubilee. Today's speaker Camille Bradford, an attorney in Denver, Colorado, is the stepdaughter of Howard R. Driggs and founder of the Howard R. Driggs Memorial Foundation.

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Erin Blasco, Program Coordinator: So hello, and welcome to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. I'm Erin Blasco and I'm the public programs coordinator here at the Museum. And we're really glad that you could be here with us today. Camille's husband Phil told me to speak slowly. So I'm going to try to do that. Thank you for that tip.

For the next 18 months we'll be celebrating 150th anniversary of the Pony Express. And even though the pony express itself didn't last that long, it left a really big impact on the American memory and pop culture. And as you'll learn in today's talk, the 75th anniversary of the Pony Express during the Great Depression truly captivated the public.

Before I introduce our speaker today, I'd like to mention that today's talk is being broadcast live online to people around the world who are watching. So during the Q&A session that follows today's talk, we ask that you use this microphone so that everyone online can hear your question and be part of the conversation. And if they have a question, I'll be asking it here as well, so that Camille can answer it.

So Camille Bradford is an attorney in Denver, Colorado. She is the stepdaughter of Howard R Driggs and founder of Howard R. Driggs Memorial Foundation. She is a member of the National Pony Express Association and is also president the Colorado Cherokee Trail Chapter of the Oregon, California Trails Association. And I hope you enjoy her presentation today, The Pony Express Diamond Jubilee: Revisiting the Excitement of the 1935 Reride.

Camille Bradford: Thank you, Erin. It's a great pleasure to be here today, and a great honor to have the opportunity to speak at the National Postal Museum during the sesquicentennial of the Pony Express.

The Pony Express exhibit in this museum is a wonderful tribute to its dramatic role in postal history and to the history of America during the early 1860s. In addition, this exhibit captures the skill and the bravery of Pony Express riders and the station keepers in a very dramatic way. It also portrays the manner in which the Pony Express became part of our popular culture.

Last Saturday was the 150th anniversary of the first day of Pony Express service in 1860, when riders left both St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California to speed the mail and relays along a route of nearly 2,000 miles. Many celebrations will take place along the trail this year including the annual re-ride that's organized by the National Pony Express Association. This year's re-ride will be accompanied by particularly festive celebrations along the trail route.

The 75th anniversary of the Pony Express in 1935, was observed during the Great Depression. To gain a better understanding of an event or a period in our history, it's always relevant and interesting to look back at how it was remembered by a subsequent generation. How the public remembered the Pony Express in 1935 is the topic of my presentation today. I hope to convey both the excitement of the diamond jubilee to the public at that time and the passionate interest in preserving the story of this trail that inspired the Oregon Trail Memorial Association to organize the celebration.

[inaudible] The highlight of the Jubilee was the rerun of the trail route in August from Sacramento to St. Joseph, the beginning of which is shown in this film clip. The riders were members of the Boy Scouts. About five hundred thousand people, a very large percentage of the people in our country at that time, attended celebrations and communities along the route. Many state governors and other dignitaries also participated in these events. And the culmination of the rerun was the ceremony on the White House lawn in which President Franklin D Roosevelt participated.

The rerun even received corporate support from the Ford Motor Company. Henry Ford had been a friend of the founder of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association Ezra Meeker, who had died before the diamond jubilee but he remained as supportive of the organization and the Ford Motor Company provided this vehicle to accompany the Scouts along the route of the rerun.

To enhance our understanding of why the public was so captivated by the event in 1935, it's interesting to look back at the Depression era and see what other things lifted the spirits of the public. This museum currently has a fascinating exhibit, "Delivering Hope: FDR and Stamps of the Great Depression." This exhibit demonstrates how President Roosevelt used stamps to communicate with the American people. He was a stamp collector himself and understood the power of visual imagery and how stamps could be utilized to convey messages of hope and optimism. He became very involved in the design of some of the stamps to ensure that the visual images were consistent was the positive messages of hope and optimism that he wanted to convey. The museum has noted that he became involved in selection of colors for the stamps, feeling that softer colors on some of the stamps, might facilitate a more positive reception of the message of the stamp. "They breathed optimism into the nation's beleaguered sole," the exhibit notes.

Cheryl Ganz, the chief curator of philately at this museum, is also the author of a book on the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The theme of the fair was "A Century of Progress." She noted how progress as the theme of the fair and the design of various exhibits, successfully conveyed a sense of optimism about the future. The final speaker at the closing ceremony concluded his remarks on a very upbeat note about the impact of the fair. "Were we to live a thousand years, we would never forget it, for it lifted our spirits, restored our souls, and brought us hope." The exhibit in this museum summarized it very well and noting that, "millions escaped their daily concerns by visiting the fair where forward-looking exhibits allowed them to believe in a better future."

The construction of major projects during the Depression, such as the Empire State Building and the Boulder Dam, which is now known as Hoover Dam, became symbols of progress and optimism about the future, during this time.

In a radio interview nearing the conclusion of the Pony Express Diamond Jubilee, Howard R. Driggs, the president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association, was asked what some of the values were that came out of the celebration. He replied, "first of all it has helped us get the minds of a good many Americans off the Depression and it has given them a challenging example of the heroism of earlier days." He also noted that there had been an outpouring of support from communities and schools along the trail interested in saving landmarks and helping to monument the trail.

What else did the Pony Express symbolized the people in 1935? After all, it was a major financial failure for Russell, Majors, and Waddell, the partners in the firm that launched it. But it was a glorious chapter in postal history as well and financial failure was irrelevant to the enthusiastic crowds who participated in the celebrations.

To understand the significance of the Pony Express to the public in 1935, it's also important to recall the history of the period in which it operated. In the mid-1800s there had been a large migration to the west partly as a result of the Gold Rush. People in the West longed for communication from back home. One service delivered mail from coast to coast by ship via Panama, which took several weeks or longer. This was before the Panama Canal and mail had to be transported over the Isthmus and reloaded onto another ship to complete the voyage to California.

Cross-country delivery of mail within the United States could also take as long as a month. The telegraph was in its early years and not yet completed coast to coast. In 1860, the country was on the verge of the Civil War and the need was recognized for speedier service to keep communication with the West alive, and keep people there aware of what was going on and hope to maintain their allegiance with the Union.

In 1861 the Pony Express carried President Lincoln's inaugural address to the West in seven days and 17 hours, which was a record. News of the attack on Fort Sumter was carried in eight days and 14 hours. The Pony Express, by bringing the ends of the country into closer communication, did much to help save the Union. This was one of the central themes of the Diamond Jubilee that the Oregon Trail Memorial Association sought to convey, as this slide indicates.

The Pony Express operated for only 19 months. When the transcontinental telegraph was completed in October of 1861, the service became obsolete and it was forgotten by many people as the excitement shifted to the marvel of technology which allowed instantaneous communication from coast to coast.

Later in the 1800s, William Cody, who was popularly known as Buffalo Bill, started his Wild West shows. These shows included dramatizations of the Pony Express and revived public awareness. The shows continued into the early 1900s and drew large audiences both in the United States and overseas. They were a big factor in the introduction of the Pony Express into our popular culture.

In the 1920s, the movement to preserve the heritage of the Pony Express became intertwined with the activities of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association and its leaders. There was a physical connection between the two trails because the Pony Express followed the Oregon Trail for about a thousand miles which is about half of its distance. In southwest Wyoming, the Oregon Trail turned north and the Pony Express trail headed south into Utah and from there on into Nevada and California.

Three key figures in the Association where Ezra Meeker, Howard R. Driggs, and Liam Henry Jackson. Their diverse backgrounds help shape a successful vision and agenda for the organization which received a major financial support from a number of large donors. Ezra Meeker founded the Association in the 1920s. He was a well-known pioneer of the Oregon Trail himself. He had been successful earlier in the 20th century in attracting public attention financial support from marking the Oregon Trail. In the early 1900s, he feared that the trail would not be preserved and he set out on a cross-country trip to raise both public awareness and funds for a project to mark and save the trail. He traveled in the covered wagons shown in the photo at the top left. This was in 1906. And his trip ultimately took him to Washington where he was received by President Theodore Roosevelt.

In the late 1920s, Henry Ford provided the vehicle shown in the lower left photo because he wanted Ezra to have a more comfortable way to travel. This became known as the Ox Mobile. Unfortunately Ezra died in 1928 before he could make a trip in this vehicle. But as a tribute to Ezra, the Ox Mobil later became part of the celebration of the Pony Express Diamond Jubilee. He's shown here in 1913, in a picture with Buffalo Bill, at an event in the Midwest.

In 1924, he had a truly breathtaking opportunity. He was able to take a trip by airplane from west to east to retrace the route of the Oregon Trail that he had traveled in the 1850s as a pioneer. He then went on to Washington, where he was congratulated by President Coolidge on the White House lawn.

His project to raise funds for the preservation of the Oregon Trail received major support from Congress in 1926 when it passed legislation authorizing the issuance of a special commemorative half-dollar, which is shown here. These coins were issued to the Association. Legislation provided that only the Oregon Trail Memorial Association could purchase these coins. They paid fifty cents, which was the value of them, but they were allowed to sell them at a profit and retain the profit for the trail making project. And this was an extraordinary gesture of support from Congress to a private organization. These items still appear on eBay. They're high-value collectibles.

Howard R. Driggs, my stepfather, was well known as an author of books both on English education, his field is a professor at New York University, and on Western history which was a passionate lifelong interest that he had developed as a child growing up in Utah as the son and grandson of pioneers. He became acquainted with Ezra Meeker and helped Ezra write his book on the story of his life, Ox Team Days. He ultimately succeeded Ezra as the president of the Oregon Trail Memorial Association while continuing his career as a professor at NYU.

Radio was in its early years at this time, and my stepfather was frequently invited to appear on programs in New York to talk about Western history. He enjoyed talking about the development of the West and the stories of trail pioneers and Pony Express riders who had shared their experiences with him firsthand. These programs were very popular with the public. In the 1920s he also once took Ezra Meeker down to the studio with him to tell his story firsthand and Ezra wrote about it later as a very exciting event in his life.

In the 1930s, my stepfather had William Campbell who was one of the last known Pony Express riders at that time, appear on one of the programs with him. My stepfather and program originated in New York and Mr. Campbell participated by phone from California which was certainly an extraordinary leap and communication from Mr. Campbell's days as a Pony Express rider.

My stepfather also wrote a series of articles on Pony Express riders and their first-hand accounts. One of his major concerns as historian was the spread of misinformation about the Pony Express, and he was very focused on getting the real stories out. He wrote the series of articles which were syndicated in newspapers throughout the country and were very well received at the time.

William Henry Jackson, the third figure that I mentioned in the association, was renowned for his early photographs of the West and the late 1800s. My stepfather collaborated with Jackson and the publication of his biography, Pioneer Photographer. In later years, Mr. Jackson became famous for his paintings of the western scenes. A number of these paintings were used in books that my stepfather wrote including, Westward America, the Old West Speaks, and the Pony Express Goes Through. The Pony Express Goes Through was published in 1935 to coincide with the diamond jubilee.

Mr. Jackson is shown here in the photograph on the left in his favorite environment, the traveling around the West. As the rider, two of his most famous paintings, the one on top is the Pony Express Rider, and the one on the bottom, it shows a change of horses at a relay station. Most of his paintings today are at the Scotts Bluff National Monument in Nebraska. And a special wing of the monument which the Oregon Trail, excuse me, American Pioneer Trails Association, the successor organization, had a very generous donor who provided funds around the time of Mr. Jackson's death to create a special wing at Scotts Bluff to archive these paintings.

Jackson became the research association for the Oregon Trail Memorial Association in the late 1920s and later participated in the diamond jubilee. He enjoyed, in addition to paintings, he enjoyed preparing trail maps, one of which was a map of the Pony Express trail which an enlarged version of it is on display in this museum in the Pony Express exhibit. You also see this map in the slide, after it was created, and then a smaller version of it is on display in the room here today. This map was later reissued in 1960 in conjunction with the Pony Express centennial of the American, which the American pioneer Trails Association was the issuer of the map.

The decision of the organization to sponsor the diamond jubilee was actually conceived in 1930 when the country was celebrating the covered wagon centennial. The organization was the national sponsor of this event. This is the highlight of it, a celebration on July 4th at Independence Rock, Wyoming. Independence Rock was a famous landmark on the trails, that people that cross there as pioneers inscribed their names in the rock, and if you visit there today, you can still see these inscriptions. The significance of calling it Independence Rock was to pioneers, if they reach there by July 4th, they could be fairly certain that they would be able to reach the west before the bad weather set in later in the year.

At this event on July 4th there were seven thousand people in attendance and the Boy Scouts from all over the country came and participated in the ceremony pitched their tents on the grounds around the rock. Independence Rock is a little west of Casper, Wyoming and is a massive rock formation, that if you go there, it's a truly breathtaking experience. That's all that's out there and you see this massive rock which was a very important landmark to the pioneers.

At the time the organization held this event, the recognition arose that something should be done to commemorate the Pony Express 75th anniversary which was coming up in five years. And my stepfather wrote, "all of the Pony Express riders say very few had died before 1930. The story and it's true outline was becoming blurred and the records of the achievement were rapidly disappearing. The Pony Express is an epic fact, and influence of an American life was in danger of disappearing too, when the Oregon Trail Memorial Association issued a challenging appeal to the American people in 1930 to reclaim the precious traditions of the covered wagon period."

The publication continued, "America must again thrill to the hoofbeats of the Pony Express rider of 1860-61. He must again live as the symbol of adventure, and daring courage, skill, and patriotism. His individual feats of gallantry and self-sacrifice must again inspire and entertain us."

One of the association's very generous supporters was George Pratt who's shown in the photograph here in the center. He donated funds for the creation of beautiful bronze plaques by the sculptor Phimister Proctor. Mr. Proctor is shown here making a presentation of the design to Mr. Pratt and William Henry Jackson. These plaques became part of a program to create monuments along the trail in conjunction with other groups and individuals.

In 1931, this program gained further national attention in a ceremony on the White House lawn in which both this plaque and an Oregon Trail plaque were presented to President Hoover to thank him for his support. The Secretary of the Interior, Ray Lyman Wilbur, is also one of the people who participated in the ceremony. He was also a director of the Oregon Trail Association. The Boy Scouts in the picture were from a troop in Long Island who had dedicated a marker on the Oregon Trail in memory of the Scouts of Yesterday. The monument program continued in the years leading up to 1935.

In this picture, Arthur Proctor, who served as board member of the Jubilee is shown in the picture on the right with governor Frank Miriam, on the left in this photo, and William Henry Jackson at the beginning of the rerun in Sacramento. Mr. Proctor was an attorney in New York and a member of the board of the Association. As part of the diamond jubilee celebration, Western Union donated this building to the state of California to be a museum and library for the Pony Express. The Pony Express had originally used this building as its Western terminal and later it was used by Western Union as their headquarters of their Telegraph building in Sacramento.

The association also issued a commemorative medallion in conjunction with the diamond jubilee. The designs of this were based on paintings by William Henry Jackson, which you'll recall from one of the earlier slides, the picture on the right is the Pony Express rider and the one on the left shows the change of ponies at the relay station. This is now also an item which appears frequently on eBay as a collectible.

The hope of the association in the rerun was that mail which was bound for Washington could be postmarked as point of origin and then given to he Scouts participating in the rerun to carry in their "mochilla", as the saddle bag for the mail was called. However the post office would not permit an end run around their regulations. They said once the mail is postmarked, it has to stay within the postal system and it can't be given to anybody else. So, that's the way the plan evolved.

And this picture shows the postmaster of Sacramento placing the final piece of mail in the bag for the rider to leave with. And this picture shows, many of the, some of the dignitaries anyway, who participated in the opening ceremony. It was a tremendously exciting event. And in this movie clip, should be movie clip, Governor [inaudible] and William Henry Jackson, spoke to the, the newsreel cameras and off they went. And more dignitaries as the [inaudible] was used to carry Mr. Jackson, Mr. Proctor and a physician from Utah. Dr. [inaudible]. The need was recognized to have a physician accompany the rerun in case the need arose for Scouts to have medical attention. Mr. Jackson was 92 years old at that time and all reports were he did spectacularly well making this cross-country trip by car in the heat of summer.

There are many scenes like this of photographs of these celebrations along the route. This one took place in Folsom, California. And here's another another scene of Folsom. Another scene of a monument dedication of one of the bronze plaques provided by Mr. Proctor. And the rerun ultimately reached Carson City, Nevada, the capital of Nevada. And this picture shows the dignitaries awaiting the arrival of the rerun. And then this movie footage shows the progression of the rerun leading up to Carson City. In a few seconds you'll see the rider overtaking the car. [inaudible] graphs and somebody [inaudible].

The Boy Scouts who were selected to participate, and it was a big honor at the time to be selected to be one of the scouts on the rerun, at least some of them that I read about were descendants of original [inaudible]. So, there was the quick change and off again. [inaudible] were able to travel by truck. This picture was taken in Rock Springs, Wyoming. And it's always interesting to note the very formal dress of the men in those days even in the heat of summer. They wore their suits and ties. More excitement here. I'm not sure where this particular footage was taken. It's part of the archives.

Every rider in the original Pony Express had to sign an oath saying, "I do hereby swear, before the great and living God, that during my engagement and while I'm an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances use profane language, I will not drink intoxicating liquors, I will not quarrel or fight with other employees of the firm, and that in every respect, I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my actions to win the confidence of my employers. So help me God." And this even concluded with a brass band.

Then from there, the rerun across Nebraska which actually, of all the states in the Pony Express er route, had the longest mileage of the route, from there into Kansas, and this was a major ceremony in Marysville, Kansas in which governor Ralph Landen participated. And from there the rerun concluded in St. Joseph, Missouri, the original origin of the Pony Express.

From there, they had to get the mail to Washington for the ceremony with President Roosevelt. Originally my stepfather had asked for the post office to provide one of the planes that was used for airmail service to fly the mail from St. Joseph to Washington. For some reason they were unable to do so. But the War Department stepped in and said they would provide an Army airplane to take the mail. But as you will note, this had to comply with all the regular, had to have proper postage and never have been deposited with any post office along the route.

So this was the plane. That's my stepfather in the middle. And I'm not sure who the person on the left, perhaps the pilot, and I believe it was Mr. Proctor on the right. They flew from St. Joseph to Washington on August 21st. And then on August 22nd, the ceremony took place on the White House lawn. The ceremony had originally been planned to coincide with the first Boy Scout Jamboree that was to have taken place in Washington at that time, but because of an outbreak of polio they had to cancel the Jamboree which wasn't rescheduled until two years later.

But fortunately, members of the local Boy Scouts were able to come in, ride in on the horses with the mail, and as a tribute Ezra Meeker, they bought the Ox Mobile along in the procession. And this was a ceremony where President Roosevelt received the mail. He was reported in the news to have said he was delighted to have all this mail because it brought many new stamps for his stamp collection. And as the museum noted in the exhibit, he spent time each night, I believe about half an hour per night, going over his stamps which was, I guess, a distressing exercise for him at the end of the day. So this mochilla of mail for him, gave him a lot of new stamps to work with.

So that was the end of the rerun which takes us back to the original question, how was the Pony Express received and perceived by the public in 1935? And it was remembered for its role in history, and the bravery of the people involved in it. And that the obstacles they had to overcome in order to get the mail through.

There were several forces at work in the planning of the diamond jubilee which I believe contributed to its success. The Oregon Trail Memorial Association had an impressive background in gaining public attention and support for the preservation of the trails, and support of both the public and the presidents of the United States at that time in Congress. Mr. Jackson's paintings were very powerful visual images of the Pony Express environment and the bravery and skill of the riders. And just as President Roosevelt had recognized the importance of visual imagery as a vehicle for conveying powerful messages, Mr. Jackson did so in his paintings of the Pony Express.

My stepfather very effectively conveyed the drama of the Pony Express and the importance of its role in postal history and American history generally. In his books and articles, and in his radio programs and again radio was a very powerful medium at this time which made a tremendous impact upon people. He received many warm letters of enthusiasm and appreciation after his radio programs which is very nice lovely handwritten letters from listeners he didn't know. One of the letters I've often commented upon to people to appreciate the impact of the new medium of radio was the letter he received from his brother in North Dakota who said, I just can't believe that the voice of my brother is coming into my living room.

And similarly letters from other listeners conveyed the excitement of hearing these stories of the Pony Express over the radio. The organization also partnered very successfully with the Boy Scouts ing involving them in the various marketing programs and celebrations that they had.

And it's interesting to note, the people who were, the Boy Scouts who were teenagers in 1935, who were, all the riders were teenagers, were people that would have been born in the early 1920s or late teens. And this is the generation that went on to fight in World War II, which itself became remembered as the greatest generation by Tom Brokaw. And it seems very evident that the Boy Scouts who participated in the rerun really appreciated the opportunity to replicate the skill and bravery of the riders of the Pony Express. So that's just a brief summary of what the impact of the rerun was on the population in 1935.

The trail marking program of the organization did not stop there however. In 1938 they inaugurated a new program to mark the trail with plaques which were design by Perry Driggs, one of my stepfather's sons, my step-brother. Each state along the ridge of the trail received about one plaque for each mile. And various members of the organization delivered the plaques all over the West. In this photo Harold Dollinger and Harry Peterson, who were two very devoted members, went out on a trek to find these places and deliver the monuments.

There are many, many photographs in my stepfather's archive of the trail, of the trail marking ceremonies. This is one very poignant picture taken in Septo Valley, Nevada. Wayne Driggs, on the far left, was my stepfather's older son, my stepbrother, also. My stepfather was holding his plaque in his hand and John Ellenbecker, a member of the organization from Kansas and one of their colleagues.

The same design that Perry had used for the plaques was adapted into a memorial flag, and part of a separate program that the organization inaugurated to find all the graves of the Pony Express riders, the station keepers, and the promoters, and to decorate their graves with these memorial flags. And again, they partnered with the Boy Scouts in this program. And at each location where they identified a grave, they would have a local ceremony at which the local Boy Scouts would participate in the marking of the graves.

The legacy of the Pony Express lives on today. Later in the 1930s, 1940s, my stepfather wrote, "what has been a successful beginning towards marking every mile of the Pony Express trail and monumental every station along the route, is just the beginning." And they changed the name of the organization to the American Pioneer Trails Association and continued trail marking projects with other trails during the 1940s and 50s, and up until the time of my stepfather's death in 1963.

In a radio interview about his book, Pony Express Goes Through, my stepfather was asked what the lasting impact of his book would be on the preserving the heritage of the Pony Express. And he said books would just one element of this. That the legacy would live on through sculpture, and artwork, and many other forms of expression. And sculpture, many lovely sculptures to the Pony Express, that have been placed in the interim. The sculpture in the photo on the right is of the National Pony Express Monument at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Utah. This sculpture was designed by Avard Fairbanks, a very famous sculptor who was a close friend of my stepfather. And the miniature version of it, a replica of it, is on display here in the conference room today.

The sculptor's son, and one of his sons, David Fairbanks, is here with us today. We're honored to have him with us, and his nephew. And during the question-and-answer period I want to ask David just to comment a little bit about what the Pony Express meant to his father.

I feel a special kinship with David. David's father created a sculpture of my stepfather which is now in Salt Lake City. There was an elementary school in Salt Lake City named the Howard R. Driggs School and David's father's sculpture is there, a lovely, lovely tribute to him at the entrance to the school.

The Trail Today

In 1968, Congress passed the National Trail System. And in 1992 the Pony Express trail was added as a National Historic Trail. What that means is that the trail is administered by the National Park Service and it's managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, other federal and state agencies, and private and local landowners, There's a vast network of organizations involved in the preservation of the Pony Express trail today. If my stepfather were alive, he would be truly overwhelmed by the degree to which the legacy has been preserved. And the comment that he made, in the earlier slide. that this was just the beginning, I think he would regard today is just a wonderful tribute to the trail preservation movement that started way back many years ago.

The National Park Service published this wonderful brochure. It's called Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guides. And there's one for each state along the historic trail routes. And it provides mile-by-mile, if you're going along a certain highway, what you'll see on that highway that pertains to the historic trails. These are a wonderful resource for anybody who has time and ability to travel the West and take in everything along the way. This is just one of them, this if for Nebraska and Colorado. In there, as I said, there's one for each segment of the route.

The Pony Express legacy also lives on today in the collectibles market. There's just tremendous number of items, just on eBay alone, of collectible items. In addition, there was a major auction in December of Pony Express items at a gallery in New York. The letter that's shown in this slide is one of three known, still existing envelopes that were carried on the first day of the Pony Express. This letter sold for $460,000. So, in today's troubled economic times, maybe there is a greater return to be made on Pony Express collectibles than the stock market.

My stepfather's papers are archived at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. He was on the first faculty of this institution when it opened originally as a branch of the University of Utah. His correspondence, thousands of photographs that he and others took, rare documents, files of the organization's memorabilia, notes of his firsthand research with trail pioneers and riders, it's all there, including a very extensive collection of items related to Ezra Meeker and William Henry Jackson with whom he had worked so closely. This is a wonderful resource for anybody interested in researching the early years of the trail preservation movement. And I want to thank the Gerald R. Sherratt Library at Southern Utah University for the use of the photographs and other material and the Howard R. Driggs Archive.

I seem to have gone backwards here.

This is the Sherratt Library at Southern Utah.

So, I thank them very much for their help in organizing this presentation, and all the time that they spent helping me find the needles in a haystack that I knew were there, and photographs.

So thank you very much, I've certainly enjoyed having the opportunity to talk today.

[applause]

Blasco: So if you have a question for Camille, if you can just raise your hand and give me a few seconds to run over to you with the microphone, so we can make sure that's recorded.

Audience member: I was wondering, who kind of had the idea originally of starting the Pony Express? Was there any means of getting letters backwards and forwards even to a small degree in that area, or was this like a major start to cover all those states?

Bradford: Well, there had been other companies that had contracts from the government to deliver the mail but they took a long time. And there was a gap in the telegraph service. The telegraph that started West to East, part of the way in East to West, another part of the way. But there was a big gap in between that wasn't served by the telegraph. So when the need arose for, or the desire arose to have speedier service, the Russell, Majors and Waddell firm stepped in and started the Pony Express to fill that gap. But yes, there were other ways to get mail around it's just that they took longer.

Audience member: The pictures always show the horses galloping. How far did a one horse travel?

Bradford: The horses would travel 12 to 15 miles and then they would change.

Audience member: Did the Boy Scouts have to go that same 12 to 15 miles or did they go a shorter distance?

Bradford: I think they did about that.

Audience member: The involvement of the Boy Scout seems like a natural thing but I don't think you ever touched on how that happened. How did the Boy Scouts get so involved in the Pony Express remembrance?

Bradford: Through personal relationships between the head of the organization, the head of the Boy Scouts and my stepfather, and other members of the Oregon Trail Association. And they had a long series of partnerships on these various projects. And they were very effective in getting public attention, public interest and it's always a human interest element to have young young people involved. And it also had for the Scouts involved, the corollary effect of, they were trying to imitate the bravery of the original riders, and their skill.

Audience member: I'm just curious, did your stepfather ever, Howard, did he ever say anything at home? I mean when you were sitting around, did he ever bring it up and talk about it passionately, about the Pony Express? And, I mean, I'm just curious, in his personal life, obviously he was dedicated it at the time in 1935, but how that carried on throughout the rest of his life?

Bradford: Yes, he did. I guess, I developed my interest in all things postal, as a child. And, my grandparents and other family members lived a long way from us in New York. And I always awaited the arrival of mail. That was an exciting event to me, since the late 40s and 50s when that was the only way to communicate. And if we placed a long-distance call to my grandmother that was like once a month. And, letters in the interim, I was very excited to get mail. And then reading about, reading his books about the Pony Express and the accounts of people, and it was just very exciting to me.

Audience member: It was obviously a tremendous investment of money and resources to set this up. And I'm just wondering what the business plan of company who would try to make money by doing this. Must been very expensive to send a letter by this system. Can you say anything about the nature of the letters that were sent?

Bradford: Well, I don't know specifically. News from home, I guess, was the main letters that went back and forth.

Audience member: [inaudible]

Bradford: Both, yeah both. The original cost of sending a letter was five dollars for half an ounce which is a mind-boggling figure translated into today's currency. However, it did go down, you had varying rates after that. But for people who are in California, who I guess had had a boom in the gold rush, maybe five dollars was not a big deal. But people valued communication enough to spend that money.

Blasco: Any other questions?

Bradford: If there are no other questions I wanted to ask David Fairbanks just to comment briefly on what the Pony Express meant to his father.

David Fairbanks: Thank you. I enjoyed you talk very much.

Bradford: Thank you.

Fairbanks: My father came under the influence of Howard R. Driggs as young sculptor. Even before that, as the young sculptor, he came under the influence of Ezra Meeker. So between the two of them, the influence, honoring the great moments and a great people of the West. And in fact of America. Father did a Poney Express statue in Reno and Tahoe, for the centennial of the Pony Express. And it's the more traditional view that people see of the single horse and rider. But his favorite artistic creation was the change of the horses. And Daniel is my nephew, he's the grandson of Avard Fairbanks. Would you pick that up and bring it up here so people can see it? When my father returned to the West for the Utah [inaudible] Centennial, he created this moment of the Pony Express, originally is a parade float for the Centennial, and you can see it here in white plaster. It was a very exciting piece of artwork for the Centennial parade and it was intended to become a monument to honor the Pony Express. And this is the artistic creation I love the most because it shows what artists love to show, balance, [inaudibel], excitement, anatomy. He also [inaudible] honored not just the Pony Express riders, by the way they were teenagers so Boy Scouts who are appropriate to rerun it, they were teenagers, not only just these these brave riders but also the station keepers, many of them lost their lives. Maybe [inaudible] of the Poney Express riders may have lost their lives, history doesn't tell. But many of the station keepers lost their lives. And so, it shows the contrast of the [inaudible] by the old man. In contrast, [inaudible] and vigor of the rider, and the excitement of the fresh horse. Turn it around, show besides of it. So it's a very exciting piece. And father also loved the symbolism of it because it shows the interaction, the interdependence of the generations. The young rider counts on the old man to be there. And the old man gives Godspeed to the young rider to go on. An exciting concept. This monument which was originally in plaster deteriorated over the years. And then fifty one years later, my nephew here, started recreating this piece, he and his father. And then from this model and theoriginal diagrams and photographs we recreated my father's statue on now in nine foot high figures in Salt Lake City and also Casper, Wyoming. So this is the exciting moment, a change of the riders. They had to do this in less than three minutes. The boy would come in, the saddlebags would come off, tossed on the new horse that the station keeper had ready and waiting, and the boy would jump on the horse and off they'd go. Nothing to slow them down. You imagine this event, this exciting event occurring at what 200 times going across the plains, 200 times. How exciting that would have been for each city or station as they see that boy come in, the new horse, off they go in less than three minutes. That was an exciting time.

Thank you. Daniel is a sculptor in his own right as well as being a professor in Utah.

Blasco: So thanks so much for joining us today, we really appreciate it. You have got a little evaluation for you to fill out, it's the bright yellow thing in your program. And if you could just drop it into the dropbox that would be wonderful. And thank you so much, Camille, and to both of you for being here.