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Friend Bob is recorded in the C. M. Russell Catalogue Raisonné as reference number CR.ILU.79.

A presentation copy of Good Medicine with inscriptions by Nancy Russell and Will Rogers will accompany the lot.

According to Brian Dippie, “Time did not diminish Russell’s affection for old friends like Bob Thoroughman. Charlie admired his kind, and the respect was mutual. When Russell died, Thoroughman wrote a letter to Nancy choked with emotion: ‘I have lost a true friend & his image as I last saw him wil [sic] remain bright in my memery [sic] as long as life last... My harts to [sic] full can’t say more.’

“As a former horse wrangler, Charlie knew all about ‘necking’ an unruly horse to a gentler one to bring it into line. Since he and Nancy were just a year away from celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary when the Thoroughmans celebrated their fiftieth, it was obvious that old-time Montana preachers knew how to tie neck knots that held. The sentiments Charlie expressed deeply touched Bob Thoroughman, and he was shocked when Nancy asked to reproduce this letter in Good Medicine. ‘He had always thought it was his own dear private letter, from a dearly loved friend, expressing regard and understanding of old times and conditions, and just for him,’ Anna Thoroughman explained, ‘and he cannot get his own consent just yet, to have it published, for a careless public that does not understand or appreciate those times.’ It took a while, but one day Bob walked in and said, ‘Well I think I will send the letter to Mrs. Russell.’ Anna, with almost sixty years of marriage behind her, put it into the mail at once before there was ‘another change of mind.’”

The Artist
Robert (Bob) Thoroughman 1920
James Thoroughman and Robert Thoroughman, by descent

Charles M. Russell, Good Medicine (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1929), p 134, illustrated
Brian W. Dippie, Charles M. Russell Word Painter (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1993), p 299, illustrated
Frederic G. Renner, Paper Talk (Fort Worth, TX: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1962), p 94, illustrated

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