Beyond the Branding Iron: Cattle Brands as Heritage Place Names in the State of Montana
- women’s courtesy titles,
- form of address,
- Chinese surnames,
- transcultural gender-related onomastics
Copyright (c) 2016 American Name Society
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
For more than two centuries, American cattle ranchers have used hot-iron brands as the primary means of identifying and asserting ownership of their animals. American cattle brands consist of highly visible symbols containing letters, numbers, and/or images which may appear individually or in any combination. Every cattle brand symbol has a corresponding name that occurs in spoken and written (alphabetized) form. By virtue of purposeful naming strategies, cattle brands display a range of associations with other types of names. These onomastic relationships reflect underlying connections between cattle brands and various elements in their socio-cultural surroundings, and offer some fascinating insights into the history, culture, and social structure of American cattle-ranching communities. This paper specifically examines the practice of naming towns and ranches after cattle brands in the State of Montana, and explains how this phenomenon comprises a unique aspect of the region’s cultural heritage.
- Aarstad, R. 2009. Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press.
- Adams, R. 1970. “Introduction.” In The Manual of Brands and Marks. By M. Wolfenstine, ix–xxiii. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.
- Basso, K. 1996. Wisdom Sits in Places. Albuquerque, NM: University of Arizona Press.
- Blake, J. 2000. “On Defining the Cultural Heritage.” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 49(01): 61–85.
- Byrne, D. 2008. “Heritage as Social Action.” In The Heritage Reader. Ed. G. Fairclough, R. Harrison, J. Jameson, Jr, and J. Schofield, 149–173. Oxon: Routledge.
- Cheney, R. 1983. Names on the Face of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Co.
- Joseph, J. 2004. Language and Identity: National, Ethnic, Religious. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Kadmon, N. 2000. Toponomy. The Lore, Laws and Language of Geographical Names. New York, NY: Vantage Press.
- Lipe, W. 1984. “Value and Meaning in Cultural Resources.” In Approaches to the Archaeological Heritage. Ed. H. Cleere, 1–11. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Lombard, C. 2015. “The Socio-Onomastic Significance of American Cattle Brands: A Montana Case Study.” PhD thesis, University of the Free State.
- Moore, P., and Hennessy, K. 2006. “New Technologies and Contested Ideologies. The Tagish First Voices Project.” The American Indian Quarterly 30(1): 119–137.
- Niedringhaus, L. 2010. “The N Bar N Ranch. A Legend of the Open-Range Cattle Industry.” The Magazine of Western History 60(1): 3–23.
- Osgood, E. 1970. The Day of the Cattleman. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
- Paul, V. 1973. This Was Cattle Ranching Yesterday and Today. New York, NY: Bonanza Books.
- Raper, P. 2012. “Bushman (San) Influence on Zulu Place Names.” Acta Academia 2 (supplementum): 1–186.
- Sapir, E. 1985. “The Unconscious Patterning of Behavior in Society.” In Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality. Ed. D. Mandelbaum, 544–559. First paperback edition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
- Thiessen, N. 1986. Empty Boots Dusty Corrals. Salt Lake City, UT: Sterling Press.
- Van Langendonck, W. 2007. Theory and Typology of Proper Names. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.