History professors Andy Kirk and Deirdre Clemente led the cataloging of hundreds of artifacts that belonged to the Walking Box Ranch. Here are just a handful.
Put your face on: Clara Bow’s personal leather makeup case contains a mascara wand, comb, bottles that held perfume, eye bath, lotion, nail files, foundation, mirrors, and a blush case that still has blush in it. Made by makeup company Kathleen Mary Quinlan, the collection would have been top-of-the line for its day.
Memories are made of this: This handmade leather book from the 1930s is embossed with Rex Bell’s name and a Western scene. The pages are empty of mementos, save one photo that was found tucked within from an unknown woman sitting on a horse and addressed to Bell. The Walking Box Ranch was replete with treasures from Hollywood’s Golden Era, connecting the ranch to its celebrity owners through material goods that stood the test of time. Here’s a look at some of what the ranch had to offer.
Style and comfort: One of Clara Bow’s kimonos from around the 1950s is a sea-blue silk brocade. Later in life, Bow was hospitalized at the Institute of Living, a psychiatric hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. The garment was the type of robe she might have worn around the facility. On the go: This leather suitcase is marked with the brands of more than two dozen ranches, including the Walking Box. Students are still researching to which other ranches those marks belong.
Searchlight steamer: Bell’s steamer trunk, stamped with “Searchlight Nevada,” was locked when it came into the UNLV collection. Fortunately, a student did some sleuthing and found the lockmaker, along with a serial number. He contacted a specialist in vintage locks in Massachusetts to track down the correct key. When the student opened the trunk, the moment was more Al Capone’s vault than King Tut’s tomb, but it’s all about the thrill of the hunt.
Home theater: This 16-millimeter kinescope projector, model A-74 from the Keystone Manufacturing Co., was from the mid-1930s and used for showing home movies. The cord and lens are still intact, though one of the projector’s two reels is missing.
Lid full of luminaries: This hat of unknown origin includes Bell’s and Bow’s signatures and has written on it The Westerner, “Hopalong Cassidy,” “California Carlson” (the sidekick to the Cassidy character in those movies), “The Lone Ranger,” “Tonto,” “Red Ryder,” and “Little Beaver” (the Native American sidekick to Red Ryder in comic strips).