Many of us have a pet at home, whether our companion be a bird, cat, fish, dog, or a pocket-sized rodent. However, most of us have likely never considered adding something more exotic to our living menagerie. A chimpanzee? A boa constrictor? Or a bear? “No, thank you!” we say, “I’ll visit those beasts in a zoo!”
Well, the wide open spaces of ranch life allowed for a bit more freedom with one’s choice of pet during the early years of the 20th century, as you’ll see in these photos from the Charles Belden photo collection.
Look at the size of those claws on this kid! This cub is not to be confused with a teddy bear!
And because a person’s unique and unpredictable choice of pet is just so darn fascinating, here’s another picture of the bear cub. Notice how this animal shares little with our cartoonish depictions of bears in popular culture.
These photographs were taken by Charles Belden, noted and prolific photographer from the famed Pitchfork Dude Ranch near Meeteetse, WY. (We have scattered selections of the Pitchfork Ranch’s records as well–take a look at what our catalog offers!) Our entire Belden collection is available online through our digital collections portal.
–Rachael Dreyer, Reference Archivist