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 Joe W. Back  (1899 - 1986)

About: Joe W. Back


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Lived/Active: Wyoming/Ohio      Known for: cowboy genre, animal, sculptor, book writer and illustrator

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BIOGRAPHY for Joe Back
1899 (Ohio)
1986 (DuBois, Wyoming)


Often Known For
cowboy genre, animal, sculptor, book writer and illustrator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Joe Back was a resident of Dubois, Wyoming. He was born in Ohio in 1899 and moved to Wyoming when he was thirteen. He served as machine gun instructor during World War I, then took up trade as a cowboy, guide, and packer.

Later he spent four years at the Art Institute of Chicago where, to use Joe’s words, he "damn near starved to death." Art education changed his life, however, and although he went back to packing and guiding until he retired to his art at 60 years old, he also became nationally known as a sculptor. 

Joe's earthy narrative and humorous, but informative, illustrations are said to make  his books  a joy to read. 

Joe Back died September 7, 1986 at the age of 87.  He and his wife Mary lived their lives out in DuBois Wyoming.

Joe was an accomplished artist and author, who wrote and illustrated the following books:

    •    Model T and the Lazy Board (1988). Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co. ISBN: 1555660290.
    •    B.A.C.K. Country: Two Tales (1987). Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co. ISBN: 1555660193.
    •    The Old Guide Remembers and the Young Guide Finds Out (1986). Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co. ISBN: 0933472994.
    •    The Sucker's Teeth (1965). Denver, CO: Sage Books. ISBN:
    •    Mooching Moose and Mumbling Men (1963). Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co. ISBN:
    •    Horse, Hitches and Rocky Trails (1959). Chicago, IL: Sage Books. ISBN:
    •    How to Tie the Diamond Hitch (1958). Dubois, WY: Joe W. Back. ISBN: Note: Copyright 1948.

Written and submitted by Barb Coppins, who wrote that "most of the information came from the web and some from an article in the Jamestown Sun.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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