A smattering of images of cowgirls can be found via a quick peruse of the two large folders (containing hundreds of pictures) entitled “Cowboys and Western Life” in the SVA library Pictures Collection. There aren’t many, but they’re there - denim-clad, leaning on wooden fences, slinging pistols and rope, hair coiffed in “Mary Pickford curls”. An underrepresented feature of Western life, cowgirls are depicted differently than their “boy” counterparts in photographs and illustrations. While cowboys almost exclusively sport serious expressions - cowgirls are always shown beaming. Cowgirl life, the images suggest, is a real treat.

A cowgirl sitting on a horse waves her hat in the air.

The cover of Life Magazine, a cowgirl sits on a fence.

A cowgirl holding a saddle while packing up the trunk of a car.

A cowgirl holding a rifle.

An illustration of a cowgirl in a desert scene.

A cowgirl and a horse.

Also see our post on Cowboys.