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Cryin’ For Daylight

A Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend

By Louise S. O’Connor


"We loved to work cattle so much we'd just be sittin' around cryin' for daylight to come."
Will King, Cowhand, 1902-1985

The Coastal Bend region of Texas embodies a rich and ethnically diverse cattle ranching heritage. For the first volume in her continuing effort to document this 155 year old culture, Louise S. O'Connor interviewed and photographed scores of men and women who have lived and worked on the ranches of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Compiled over a seven-year period, CRYING FOR DAYLIGHT explores the extraordinary character of this historically significant area. The book combines singular portraits of individuals and ranch scenes with the colorful reminiscences of its subjects-the ranchers, cowhands, women, camp cooks and townsfolk of the The Coastal Bend.

Hundreds of archival black and white photographs, some dating to the turn of the century and earlier, were selected from nearly ten thousand images collected over the years by participants in this landmark study. They are complemented by the author's brilliant color portraits, which introduce each chapter.

While many of the interview subjects condensed their stories into a few sentences or phrases, others were edited by the author into composite recollections reflecting common experiences that capture the essences of this distinctive way of life.

Written by members of the families who still operate them, the histories of twenty-two Coastal Bend ranches are also included in CRYIN FOR DAYLIGHT.

In his forward, Don E. Carleton, director of the Barker Texas History Center at the University of Texas (Austin) said "Louise O'Connor's contribution to scholarship and to the preservation of our documentary heritage continues beyond this valuable and entertaining book... This archive... is destined to become a most fitting legacy."