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Rare Early State of Jo Mora's Iconic Pictorial -- Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Early state Of Jo Mora's Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

Originally published as a promotional item for the Salinas Rodeo in 1933, this is perhaps Jo Mora's most enduring image. The image was re-purposed in 1950 as advertising for the Levi Strauss Company. Later on, the American band the Byrds used the image of the Sweetheart of the Rodeo on their pioneering country-rock album of the same name, released in 1968.

Mora's work is an illustrated encyclopedia entry on the cowboy, filled with information on the various types of cowboys, their fashions, their saddles, their horses, and their relationship to the cattle. A hectic and exaggerated rodeo scene appears in the center, with more realistic illustrations directly below depicting different rodeo activities in close-up detail.

The map is ringed with images of the history of the cowboy, from the Spanish conquistador of the 16th century to the modern vaqueros and cowboys. 

The present example is dated 1933 in the lower right image.

Jo Mora Biography

Joseph Jacinto "Jo" Mora, born 22 October 1876 in Uruguay, died 10 October 1947 in Monterey California. Mora came to the United States as a child, he studied art in New York, then worked for Boston newspapers as a cartoonist. He was a man of many other talents, artist-historian, sculptor, painter, photographer, illustrator, muralist and author. In 1903, Mora came to California, then in 1904 he moved to Keams Canyon in northeast Arizona, living with the Hopi and Navajo Indians. He learned their languages and photographed and painted an ethnological record, particularly of the Kachina ceremonial dances. In 1907, he married Grace Needham and they moved to Mountain View, California. He moved to Pebble Beach in 1922 and established a home and large studio there, it being near the Carmel Mission (San Carlos Borroméo De Carmelo Mission) after being commissioned to do the Serra Sarcophagus* for Padre (Father) Ramon Mestres.

During his long and productive career, Mora illustrated a number of books including Animals of Aesop (1900), Dawn and the Dons - The Romance of Monterey (1926), Benito and Loreta Delfin, Children of Alta California (1932), and Fifty Funny Animal Tales (1932). He authored three books, A Log of the Spanish Main (1933), Trail Dust and Saddle Leather (1946) and his posthumous publication, Californios (1949).

His map work included Monterey Peninsula (1927), and Seventeen Mile Drive (1927), California (1927), San Diego (1928), Grand Canyon (1931), Yosemite (1931), Yellowstone (1936), Carmel-By-The-Sea (1942), California (1945) (large and small versions), and Map of Los Angeles (1942).