Lennis Broadfoot

Broadfoot at work at his desk.

 The Harlin Museum is home to the entire Lennis L. Broadfoot collection of portraits, minus those given by the artist in his lifetime to friends and family,  which includes those from Broadfoot’s 1944 book, “Pioneers of the Ozarks,”  the unpublished drawings intended for his second book, “Stoney of the Wildwoods,” and several other singular landscapes, portraits, and still lifes. 

  Broadfoot grew up in Shannon County, MO and returned to the Ozarks in the late 1930’s to complete what he saw as his life’s work: character studies of the Ozarks pioneers. Broadfoot wrote in the introduction to his “Pioneers of the Ozarks” book “


“…the purpose of this volume of work is to preserve a true picture record of the pioneers of the hills, their strange customs of living that are so rapidly vanishing, and a life that is so different from anything known to modern folk, that it should be educational, especially to the younger generation who know nothing of the joys and hardships of primitive ways.” His portraits vividly capture the variety of activities people were engaged in at that time, such as basket weaving, soap making, hunting, quilting, and blacksmithing.”

Lennis L. Broadfoot

Some of the portraits from Broadfoots book, “Pioneers of the Ozarks,” hanging in the museum gallery.

  Lennis Leonard Broadfoot was born in a log cabin home on a farm in Shannon County, Missouri. Some of his ancestors were Cherokee Indians. It was a dream of his to become an artist, but he was discouraged both at home and at school. Nevertheless, he persisted and he developed his talent at every available moment by sketching home scenes and neighbors who would sit round the fireplace and swap tales of the old days.

After his mother’s death in 1909, Broadfoot traveled across the United States of America. He went to the West, and while there he practiced drawing portraits of people. Sometimes they were cowboys or frontier characters. While in Montana he became a friend of Charlie Russell, famed Western artist.

Broadfoot is considered to be a self-taught artist even though he did take a short course in commercial art by correspondence. In later years he has had his pictures exhibited widely throughout the United States.