Gard, Sanford Wayne (1899–1986)

By: Stephen Earl Comer

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

Wayne Gard, author of Texana and Southwestern history, was born on June 21, 1899, in Brocton, Illinois. His childhood was spent in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. His studies at Illinois College were interrupted by Army service in World War I. Upon his return, he wrote for the student magazine, edited the college newspaper, and worked one summer as a news reporter. He received his B.A. in 1921 and spent three years in Burma teaching high school English and history and working as a part-time correspondent for the Associated Press. When he returned, he received a fellowship at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He was granted his M.A. degree in 1925 and went on to do further graduate work at Columbia University. He received a honorary doctorate of literature from Illinois College in 1959. In 1925 he married Hazel Dell; they had one son. From 1925 until 1930 Gard taught journalism at Grinnel College in Iowa, also serving as department head. He wrote briefly for a number of publications including the Register and the Tribune in Des Moines, Iowa, and the Chicago Daily News. In 1933 he joined the Dallas Morning News as a copy editor. He was quickly moved to editorial writing, where he remained until his retirement in 1963. During this time his fascination with the history of Texas and the Southwest grew. His first book in this genre was Sam Bass (1936). It was followed by seven others, including Frontier Justice (1949), Chisholm Trail (1954), The Great Buffalo Hunt (1959), Rawhide Texas (1965), and Reminiscences of Range Life (1970). Rawhide Texas won for him the Summerfield G. Roberts Award from the Sons of the Republic of Texas in 1966. He also wrote numerous articles and reviews for over forty publications, including American Heritage, Reader's Digest, American Mercury, Cattleman, and Vanity Fair. The Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West said of him that his "experience as a news writer taught him to spot the significant. As a result, he was always economical in his use of words, and his writings reflect strength and vitality." Gard was president of the Texas State Historical Association and the Dallas chapter Organization of Professional Journalists.He was a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, Texas Folklore Society, Western History Association, Press Club of Dallas, and the First Unitarian Church. He was also a honorary member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. He died of pneumonia on September 24, 1986, in Dallas.

Howard R. Lamar, ed., The Reader's Encyclopedia of the American West (New York: Crowell, 1977). Edward L. and Frederick H. Schapsmeier, Encyclopedia of American Agricultural History (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1975). Something about the Author (Detroit: Gale Research, 1987). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephen Earl Comer, “Gard, Sanford Wayne,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: