Will James, cowboy, cattle rustler, and beloved author and artist of the American West, was born Joseph Ernest Dufault on June 6, 1892, at St. Nazaire de Acton in Quebec, Canada. He came West in 1907 at the age of fifteen, becoming a cowhand and changing his name to William Roderick James. James showed artistic talent from an early age, and gained a reputation for his sketches of life on the range long before publishing his first work.
A turning point in James early life came in 1914, when he was accused of rustling cattle in Ely, Nevada and sentenced to the Nevada State Prison at Carson City for a year to fifteen months. During his prison term, he turned to his art for solace, and after his release he became one of the best known Western writers and artists. Between 1920 and his death in 1942, he wrote and illustrated more than twenty books and numerous magazine articles. ~Information provided courtesty of University of Nevada, Reno, Special Collections and University Archives~
Welcome to the Will James Society Website
To promote the Legacy, Literature and Art of the Great Cowboy author, Will James, through the gifting of his inspirational books to schools, public libraries, our military units and hospitals throughout the world, and other interested and worthy institutions.
The Will James Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving the works and memory of a great western author and artist, Will James. The Society donates books to schools and libraries throughout the United States and Canada. They also send soft cover versions to military installations in the US and overseas.
The Society is currently based in Elko, Nevada. Also located in Elko is the Northeastern Nevada Museum, the home of Don Frazier's collection of art works and books by Will James. The museum includes exhibits of history, natural history, local cultures, mining, ranching, railroading, and gaming.