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Jim Bob Tinsley Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS 278

Scope and Content

The Jim Bob Tinsley Papers contain galley proofs and photographs for Tinsley's books, He Was Singin' This Song and For a Cowboy Has to Sing. Accompanying the galley proofs and photographs are approximately 50 pieces of Western sheet music from 1900 to 1950. In addition, this collection contains research for Tinsley's work on the Florida Panther, bass fishing sites in Florida, and his book The Sailfish, Swashbuckler of the Open Seas. Additional material donated in 2017 includes research material that Tinsley collected on cattle rancher Jacob Summerlin.

Dates

  • 1964-1987

Creator

Access

The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jim Bob Tinsley was an avid outdoorsman, writer, and musician known for Western and cowboy songs. He was born in Brevard, North Carolina ion August 12, 1921. He graduated from Brevard High School in 1940, and served as a naval aerial photographer during World War II. After the war, he married Dottie (Dolores) Wilson and earned money for college by working as a cowboy in Arizona. In 1956, he graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. In 1958, he completed a master's degree in education from what is now Northern Arizona University. He went on to a career in education, retiring in 1982 after 28 years with the Marion County School System.

He was an accomplished singer of cowboy ballads, beginning his career at the age of 13 performing with WWNC radio station out of Ashville, North Carolina. During the course of his career, he played with numerous musicians, including Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Tinsley wrote books on western music, including For a Cowboy Has to Sing and He Was Singin' This Song, which won the Cowboy Hall of Fame's Western Heritage Award for music in 1982.

In addition to his books on music, Tinsley was the author of works on other subjects. He was an avid sportsman, which inspired him to write The Puma: Legendary Lion of the Americas, The Florida Panther, and The Sailfish, Swashbuckler of the Open Seas. His experience with photography helped him produce a work on waterfalls in his home state of North Carolina entitled The Land of Waterfalls: Transylvania County, North Carolina. He also wrote about the history of the Tinsley family in From Totopotomoy to Transylvania: A Descendancy Line of the Tinsley Family in America since 1638.

Tinsley received many awards and honors during his lifetime, including the Pioneer Award, the Cowboy Cultural Award, and induction into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame. He also was the recipient of the Will Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Western Artists in 2000. His passion for western music left him with numerous artifacts from the West. He and his wife Dottie opened the Jim Bob Tinsley Museum in 1994, which closed in 2007. He passed away in 2004 at the age of 82.

Extent

4.21 Linear feet (9 boxes; 2 record albums)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The collection contains galley proofs and photos for Tinsley's books He Was Singin' This Song and For a Cowboy Has to Sing. Accompanying the galley proofs and photographs are approximately 50 pieces of Western sheet music from 1900 to 1950. The collection also contains research materials on the Florida panther, bass fishing sites in Florida, cattle rancher Jacob Summerlin, and Tinsley's book The Sailfish, Swashbuckler of the Open Seas.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Dottie Tinsley. Material on Jacob Summerlin donated by Dr. Lynn Herrick on behalf of Mrs. Dottie Tinsley.

Related Material

Additional material on Jim Bob Tinsley can be found at the Silver River Museum, Ocala, Florida (primarily his research on cracker cattle and the Florida panther) and at the Transylvania Heritage Museum, Brevard, North Carolina. Special Collections and Archives at Northern Arizona University also holds a Jim Bob Tinsley Collection.

The Florida Folklife Collection and the Florida Photographic Collection of the State Archives of Florida contain photos and recordings of Jim Bob Tinsley.

Bibliography

Sources consulted by Bridget Bihm-Manuel while writing this finding aid.

Tinsley's Works Include:

  • The Sailfish, Swashbuckler of the Open Seas. Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 1964.
  • The Florida Panther. St. Petersburg, Fla., Great Outdoors Pub. Co., 1970.
  • From Totopotomoy to Transylvania: A Descendancy Line of the Tinsley Family in America since 1638. Ocala, Florida: Des Abbott & Gordon Mobbs, 1976.
  • He Was Singin' This Song: A Collection of Forty-Eight Traditional Songs of the American Cowboy. Orlando: University Presses of Florida, 1981.
  • The Puma, Legendary Lion of the Americas. El Paso: Texas Western Press, University of Texas at El Paso, 1987.
  • The Land of Waterfalls: Transylvania County, North Carolina. Brevard, N.C.: J.B. and Dottie Tinsley, 1988.
  • Florida Cow Hunter: The Life and Times of Bone Mizell. Orlando: University of Central Florida Press, 1990.
  • For a Cowboy Has to Sing: A Collection of Sixty Romantic Cowboy and Western Songs, Covering Fifty-Year Golden Era of Popular Standards between 1905 and 1957. Orlando: University of Central Florida Press, 1991.
  • The Hash Knife Brand. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1993.

Processing Notes

In 2017, Dr. Lynn Herrick donated material to the Tinsley Papers on behalf Mrs. Dottie Tinsley. This second accession included research materials collected by Jim Bob Tinsley on cattle rancher Jacob Summerlin. The new material can be found in box 9.

Title
A Guide to the Jim Bob Tinsley Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Philip Durnin and Bridget Bihm-Manuel
Date
December 2010
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

Contact:
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America
352-273-2755