Ethel A. Hopkins was born and raised on a farm in Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 1908 and worked as a school teacher in both Missouri and Oklahoma. She came to Tucson, AZ in 1916 due to the ill health of her husband and continued to work, first as a school teacher and later as a stenographer and secretary at the University of Arizona. After the passing of her first husband, she married J. W. Hopkins, an officer at the Acme Printing Company. In 1933 Mrs. Hopkins purchased Hoofs and Horns Magazine, a weekly cattle paper that had ceased publication during the depression. She re-conceptualized Hoofs and Horns, first publishing it in October of 1933 as a monthly magazine, shifting the focus towards the sport of rodeo while still accommodating the interests of cattlemen. Mrs. Hopkins acted as publisher and editor of Hoofs and Horns until 1954, crafting the magazine to contain a "balanced ration of sense and nonsense": featuring news articles, verse, humor, and poetry intended for "simple cow country folk." An ardent rodeo fan, Mrs. Hopkins came to meet, befriend, and correspond with many rodeo personalities and contestants while promoting and seeking submissions and advertisements for her publication.
Composed of the papers of Ethel “Ma” Hopkins, the bulk of the collection consists of correspondence relating to her position as editor and publisher of Hoofs and Horns Magazine. Also included are photographs and prints, mostly depicting rodeo characters, rodeo scenes, and Western ranch activities of the period.