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Catalog Number 2015.3.1
Object Name Letter
Title Copy of Hllow Fiddelback letter
Date 1909
Scope & Content Colour copy of a five page handwritten letter to Bertrand Sinclair from famous western artist Charles Russell in Great Falls, Montana. Bertrand was nicknamed the "Fiddleback Kid" because he had ridden into camp on a horse that had begun life with the Fiddleback outfit of central Nevada and still wore its brand. Russell couldn't spell hence the "hllow" instead of "hello". The letter is addressed to Sinclair in Santa Cruz, California.

Some of C.W. Russell's illustrations are on the letter, there is a buffalo round-up map and C.W. Russell's signature.

Charlie and Marjorie Gillespie purchased two pieces of property in Pender Harbour from Sinclair in 1957. Sinclair told him then that "he was eating his land" and needed the money. By 1966 he needed more money so he told Gillespie about an original letter he had from Charles Marion Russell with whom he rode the range in the late 1800s between Alberta and Montana. Gillespie bought the letter for $1,000 (a lot of money in those days). In 1976 Charlie sold the letter to his friend, Joe O'Connor of Vancouver (who collected Charles Russell's art) for $10,000. Joe had the letter authenticated and in a letter dated May 7, 1976 to Joe, Kennedy Galleries, New York appraised the original letter at between $15,000 and $20,000. Charlie, being an honorable man, would not raise the agreed upon sale price of $10,000.

There is also a verification letter written by Bertrand Sinclair.

Dr. and Mrs. Skinner donated the letter to The Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, date unknown.





People Sinclair, Bertrand
Russell, Charles M.
Gillespie, Charles
O'Connor, Joseph
Skinner, Dr. & Mrs.
Subjects Correspondence
Cowboys
Artists
Westerns
Art dealers
Animals
Cattle
Horses
Horseback riding
Drawings
Search Terms C.M. Russell Museum
Gillespie family
Kennedy Galleries, New York
O'Connor family
Russell family
Sinclair Bay
Sinclair family
Skinner family
Accession number 2015.3