What is Westerners International?
Westerners International (WI) is a non-profit foundation, first organized in 1959 to promote communication and cooperation between Corrals and Posses, and to stimulate interest and research in the history of the American West. The WI “home ranch” is located at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City where Buckskin Bulletin is published quarterly and mailed to Westerners everywhere. WI also assists in the organization of new Corrals and Posses and registers their brands.
The Westerners movement was started in Chicago in 1944 by Leland D. Case, editor of The Rotarian magazine, and Elmo Scott Watson, newspaperman and educator. Slowly the Westerners movement grew. The Denver Posse was organized in January 1945 followed by Corrals in St. Louis and Los Angeles in 1946; New York City in 1952; Tucson, Laramie, and the Black Hills Corrals in 1953. In 1954, the Potomac Corral was founded in Washington, D.C., and the first overseas Corral was established in England. The year 1955 saw Corrals and Posses established in Spokane, WA, Kansas City, MO, and Paris, France. During the years since, more than 138 Corrals and Posses-some cities have more than one-have been organized throughout the United States and overseas.
The Westerners and the Western History Association
In 1961, Westerners played a significant role in helping to organize the Western History Association. Westerners John A. Carroll, then a history professor in Arizona, sent out the call to historians and buffs alike to gather in Santa Fe, NM. Other Westerners joined in the successful drive that organized the Western History Association and established close informal ties between WHA and The Westerners, many of whom remain members of WHA.
WI sponsors a breakfast for Westerners each year at the annual WHA conference. WI uses the occasion to present awards to the most outstanding Corrals and Posses, an award for the best non-fiction Western book written by a Westerner and published the previous year, the Phillip A. Danielson Awards for the best presentations or programs delivered to a Corral or Posse during the previous year, and in cooperation with the E Clampus Vitus chapters in the San Francisco area, WI presents the “Coke” Wood Award for the best published monograph or article dealing with the history of the American West. Another tradition at the annual WHA Westerners breakfast is an auction of Western items including books donated by Westerners and book publishers.