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David Dary – Cowboy Historian

David Dary“It would be impossible to understand the culture of the cowboy without considering his history.”

David Dary was born on August 21, 1934 in Manhattan, KS to Russell and Ruth Dary near where his great-grandfather, Carl Engel, settled in 1865. David graduated from Kansas State in 1956 and received a graduate degree from the University of Kansas. He began his journalism career in Topeka where he worked in radio and TV. He worked in Texas before joining CBS News in Washington, DC, where he transferred to NBC News. In the late 1960’s he returned to Topeka to help build an NBC station, and began teaching journalism at the University of Kansas. Twenty years later he became chair of the School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He retired in 2000 and is now an emeritus professor at Oklahoma. Dary is the author of 20 books; three deal with journalism, the rest are about the West. Titles include Cowboy Culture, The Santa Fe Trail and True Tales of Old-Time Kansas. One title, The Buffalo Book was a “Book-of-the-Month” Club selection and a Pulitzer Prize nominee. In 2008 he wrote Frontier Medicine which won him the Dr. Walter Alvarez Award from the American Medical Writers Association. He has received two Wrangler Awards from the Cowboy Hall of Fame, two Western Writers of America Spur Awards and the Westerners International Best Nonfiction Book Award. In 2002 he was honored with an Owen Wister Award from the W.W.A. for lifetime achievement. In 2008 the Oklahoma Center for the Book gave him an Arrell Gibson Award, also for lifetime achievement. Dary has chaired numerous historical organizations. He resided in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife, Sue until his death on March 15, 2018. They have four daughters and seven grandchildren.


Year inducted: 2010

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