A Project from
the American Studies Group at
The University of Virginia
last update may 1, 2000

In November, we were given the July 1927 issue of The Mentor. Our American Studies professor asked us to use this magazine--or artifact, as he likes to call it--as a starting point for a Web site. Our first idea was to focus on The Mentor itself and how it reflected popular culture of the 1920s. We soon realized, however, that the magazine itself was not as important as the cultural implications of its text and images.

Representations of cowboys pervade this issue of The Mentor. But, who was the cowboy in the 1920s? Was he really the "Rough Rider, Adventurer, Romantic Figure of the Cattle Country," or was he merely playing dress-up?

In the 1920s, the cowboy clearly emerged as a celebrity. He could be found on-screen, in vaudeville, on the radio, in the newspapers, in popular fiction, and in advertisements. He was no longer confined to the West--he had been brought East. Will Rogers exemplified the emergence of the synthetic cowboy. This Web site explores representations of the cowboy as an entertainer--an icon of popular culture.