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Western Publications, Incorporated

W. W. Bennett General Entry

Western Publications, Incorporated, was an Austin-based publishing firm responsible for several widely read magazines dealing primarily with facets of Western Americana. The company grew out of the Sportsman Publishing Company of Austin, which initially began publication in Texas with Western Sportsman magazine in 1947, revived from the 1937 Colorado publication of the same name. Owner Joe Austell Small bought Western Sportsman during World War II, began the publishing firm, and founded many of its magazines, including True West (which began in 1953), Wanderlust (1960), Old West (1964), Relics (1967), Gold! (1969), which was about tales of treasure in the old West, Badman (1971), which was about outlaws, and Horse Tales (1972). In 1955 he purchased Frontier Times, which had been published since 1923. Most of the stories printed in Western Publications magazines were presented as true accounts, and historian Walter Prescott Webb served as consultant for True West magazine (probably concurrently with several other Western Publications magazines, as all were presumed edited in Austin, and stories were frequently exchanged between publications) from 1955 until his death in 1963. In late 1953 the company name was temporarily changed to True West Publishing Company. Small wrote lengthy editorials for many of the magazines, but Pat Wagner was listed as editor for most of the magazines. Western Publications was sold in September 1979 to Chet Krause and Krause Publications, an Iola, Wisconsin, firm, but retained editorial offices in Austin until fall of 1982. It was sold to Bob Evans Publications in February 1984 and moved to Perkins, Oklahoma. At this time founder Small was publisher emeritus and retained an address in Austin. By the late 1980s Western Publications was headquartered in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and continued to publish magazines dealing with Western Americana.

Old West, Fall 1982, Summer 1984, Fall 1984. True West, Fall 1953, December/January 1955.


  • Journalism
  • Business
  • Organizations
  • Associations
  • Foundations

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

W. W. Bennett, “Western Publications, Incorporated,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 20, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.