Book Review: SADDLEMAKER TO THE STARS: THE LEATHER AND SILVER ART OF EDWARD H. BOHLIN (James H. Nottage) : AH
SADDLEMAKER TO THE STARS: THE LEATHER AND SILVER ART OF EDWARD H. BOHLIN, by James H. Nottage, with photography by Susan Einstein (The Autry Museum of Western Heritage/distributed by the University of Washington Press, 223 pages, $60.00).
Prepared in connection with a major exhibition on the same subject, this handsomely illustrated volume examines the life of craftsman Edward Bohlin (1895-1980), whose dreams of America’s “Wild West” as a child in Sweden led him to sail as a cabin boy on a ship bound for the United States. The author recounts Bohlin’s apprenticeship as a cowboy in Montana, his introduction to the stars of Hollywood’s movie westerns, and his almost single-handed development of the gun belts, spurs, and saddles identified with such celluloid heroes and their horses as Hopalong Cassidy and Topper, the Lone Ranger and Silver, and Roy Rogers and Trigger. Drawing from private and public collections of the clothing, saddles, tools, and equipment that Bohlin created, Nottage’s text acknowledges the permanent mark that the Swedish immigrant made on the world’s perception of the American West, while Einstein’s lavish photographs illustrate the intricate work and detail that was Bohlin’s trademark.