New Finding Aids: January 2020

We’re still busy as ever archiving and processing collections. Here’s another round of finding aides we’ve published so you can see what’s been added to our collections.

As a reminder, Finding Aids act as a table of contents for our collections. These aids help you find information about specific collections we have, and the information contained in the collections. We create these aids so it’s easier for researchers to figure out if collection is relevant to their work.

The strengths of our collections include Wyoming and the American West, politics and public policy, ranching and energy, entertainment and popular culture, industry, transportation, and military history. The documents and archives we hold serve as raw data for scholarship and heritage work, and support thriving communities of place, identity, and interest in Wyoming and beyond.

behind the scenes look at the archive at the American Heritage Center

Finding Aid Updates (from collections processed 10/11/19 – 11/1/19)


Comedian Eddie Lawrence. Lawrence was a character actor who wrote the Broadway musical “Kelly.”

Joan Bassett papers about 111 Grand Avenue. This building in Laramie housed both businesses and residences from 1920 to 1990.

Author Samuel Western. Western wrote “Pushed Off the Mountain, Sold Down the River,” an economic history of Wyoming.

Author Ron Franscell. After a career as a journalist, Wyoming native Franscell began writing crime fiction.

University of Wyoming Plant Science Division research and extension materials. These photographs document early agronomy and extension work of the university throughout the state.

The former University of Wyoming Chicano Studies Program. The collection contains a videotape called “Laramie Hoy” (Laramie Today) from 2000.

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees was formed in 1886, before the university opened.

Lyle and Florence Brothers. Collection contains an assortment of political literature, including, anti-communist, racist, and anti-Semitic materials.

Wyoming History Day records. The History Day program for middle and high school students encouraged discovery and interpretation of historical topics.

Elder Family Financial Exploitation research. The collection contains de-identified interviews regarding elder financial abuse.

Arts & Sciences Dean Oliver Walter. Walter was Dean of the A&S College from 1989 to 2012.

City councilman Charles P. Beall. Beall was active in Albany County, Wyoming, politics in the 1950s.

The American Heritage Center (AHC) has digitized and made accessible online 700 negatives from the Bob Kisken photographs collection #11383.

Bob Kisken was a resident of Glenrock, Wyoming. After retiring, he took up ranch and farm photography as a hobby.

Collection contains more than 1000 color, black and white, and sepia photographs and negatives taken by Kisken of cattle branding, rodeos, sales barns, and cattle operations in Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Also included are a series of images of women in agriculture and ranching. The digitized items and additional information about the Bob Kisken photographs #11383 can be found in the online finding aid.


These and other AHC collections can be discovered in the University of Wyoming Libraries catalog. We are open for walk-in research on Mondays 10 am – 7 pm and Tuesdays through Fridays 8 am – 5 pm. For distance research assistance please contact our reference department at ahcref@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3756.

#AlwaysArchiving

Posted in Finding Aids, Laramie, Local history, Motion picture actors and actresses, newly digitized collections, newly processed collections, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Western history, western politics and leadership, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Samuel H. Knight and Man’s Best Friend

Dogs are one of life’s greatest treasures. They love their owners unconditionally, enjoy walks, belly rubs, and appreciate any moment that they spend with their owner. For centuries, people have had great admiration for dogs and enjoy capturing their essence through several different types of media such as paintings, sculptures, and especially photography. Over the years, photography has become a rather popular way of capturing pictures of beloved pets. One can go on any social media site and see picture after picture of dogs, cats, and all sorts of pets. Samuel H. Knight had a passion for photography and because of this, people today are able to get a glimpse into his life and are able to see that Knight himself was a dog lover and enjoyed taking pictures of dogs.

Knight was somewhat fond of taking photos of his family’s pets.  A majority of the photographs that contain a dog are that of Knight’s family. One of his family dogs was a particularly fluffy and calm dog named Trixie.

dog sitting in grass
Trixie. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Samuel H. Knight Collection, Accession Number 400044, Box 103

In most of the pictures that include her, she is surrounded by Knight’s children and does not look as though she is bothered by their presence. The negatives depict Knight’s children holding Trixie in their laps or petting her on a porch, all the while Trixie is smiling and appearing happy and content. With children, pets can sometimes become annoyed with the lack of personal space but from the images we have in our collections, Trixie did not seem like the type of dog to get annoyed with children too easily.

  • two children and a dog sitting on a porch outside.
  • dog and people sitting on the ground outside posing for photo.

Another one of Knight’s family dogs is a fluffy terrier who is full of energy. Every picture of him makes it appear as though this dog rarely stayed still. In some of the photos, the dog is wearing a harness with an incredibly taut leash. A taut leash would indicate an energetic and curious canine, and multiple other images that include the family dog reinforce that idea.

a girl sitting on a couch with her puppy dog
Family dog. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Samuel H. Knight Collection, Accession Number 400044, Box 119,

A Christmas picture with the Knight family was ruined after they decided to include the family dog in the picture. The family dog, being as energetic as he was, was unable to stay still during the duration of the photo-taking process. The final image was a nice and clear family picture that included a blurry spot that was the dog.

Squirming Family Dog. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Samuel H. Knight Collection, Accession Number 400044, Box 119

Finally, Knight was known to take pictures of dogs that were not even his. A good example of this is a dog that appears to be guarding the very first grindstone in Rawlins, Wyoming. This big, solemn dog has no real purpose being in the photo capturing Rawlins’s accomplishment yet Knight still decided to leave him in, which indicates Knight’s appreciation for dogs.

Dog with grindstone. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Samuel H. Knight Collection, Accession Number 400044, Box 93, Negative D3-3262 & C-41523

Here’s another example of Knight’s appreciation for dogs. This dog looks similar to a mix between a lab and a boxer and is leashed to a post outside. He does not look particularly amused to be having his picture taken but still stays stationary as he was getting his picture taken nonetheless. There is nothing surrounding the dog that indicates Knight was attempting to capture anything other than the dog. It is safe to say that by leaving a random dog in the picture or taking a picture solely of a dog, it shows that Knight does enjoy dogs and would do what he could to take pictures of them.

a dog standing outside in the grass
University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center, Samuel H. Knight Collection, Accession Number 400044, Box 82, Negative B1-2125

 Not only has Samuel H. Knight given people of today the ability to get a glimpse into his daily life, but he also gave them the ability to understand the life of a dog during the early 1900s. Trixie was a fluffy and calm dog who worked well with children, the other family dog was not as well trained as Trixie but was also incredibly energetic and always kept his leash taut when he went on walks. Other dogs, who were not owned by Knight, also had their pictures taken. Knight showed people his love and appreciation for dogs through the use of photography while also giving the future the ability to understand the past.


Blog contribution by: Maiah T. Porter, Carlson Endowment Student Intern

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Posted in University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Votes for Women – The 1920 Ratification Campaign

Grace Raymond Hebard and Carrie Chapman Catt

Ribbon: “Votes for Women.” American Heritage Center, Box 77, Grace Raymond Hebard papers.

On June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment stated: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The action of Congress, however, did not enfranchise a single female. Thirty-six states had to ratify the amendment before it could go into force.

The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), led by Carrie Chapman Catt, had much work to do to convince the necessary number of state legislators to give their support. NAWSA embarked on an intensive state by state campaign to convince generally all-male legislatures to admit a massive new number of voters to the rolls. Fifteen states had already given their women full voting rights. Catt reached out to women in those places asking them to share their experiences. Among those who answered Catt’s call was Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard of Wyoming.

Grace Raymond Hebard posing for a photo circa 1920
Photograph: Grace Raymond Hebard, about 1920. American Heritage Center, Photo Biographical Files, Hebard, Grace Raymond.

Grace Hebard was born in 1861 in Clinton, Iowa. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa in 1882 and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to work as a draftsman and surveyor in the United States Land Office. This was an unusual position for a woman, but it did not satisfy Hebard’s ambition. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in 1885 and a Ph.D. in 1893. She was appointed to the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees in 1891 and became a member of the Wyoming Bar Association in 1898. She was University Librarian and head of the University’s Political Economy Department by 1908. Still underemployed, she found time to support American troops in World War I and work with foreign-born residents seeking citizenship. Always an active advocate for women, in 1920 she was tapped by Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt’s telegram of April 12 was explicit: “To get thirty sixth state mobilizing one woman each state[.] Want you Wyoming…Want you and you only.”[1]

Telegram: Carrie Chapman Catt to Grace Raymond Hebard requesting help in securing passage of the 19th amendment, April 12, 1920.
Telegram: Carrie Chapman Catt to Grace Raymond Hebard requesting help in securing passage of the 19th amendment, April 12, 1920. American Heritage Center, Box 21, Folder 6, Grace Raymond Hebard papers.

Catt wanted these women to persuade the governor of Connecticut to call a special session of the legislature to ratify women’s suffrage. Many states had already dismissed their legislative sessions and did not plan to call another one until 1921. But that would occur after the presidential election of 1920 and would deny women the chance to participate in the national elections for another four years. Catt summoned her forces and distributed her talking points. The women were instructed to point out the political consequences of delay. “Parties must make no mistake as to depth of women’s feeling…In Connecticut, it is the Republican [P]arty that will be held responsible.”[2]

Hebard had some strategies of her own. In New York, on her way to Connecticut, she attracted the attention of the press: “Dr. Grace Hebbard [sic], [3] of Laramie, Wyo., paid no attention to the skyscrapers when she arrived for the first time on Broadway last night…The first thing which stimulated her curiosity in New York was the headquarters of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. ‘I never saw an anti-suffragist,’ she said last night at the Hotel McAlpin,…’You know out in Wyoming we have had woman suffrage for fifty years and there is no such thing as an anti-suffrage man in our state – much less a woman…I want to go around there and see what those women are like. I cannot imagine what they have to say for their point of view.’”

The Connecticut suffragists and their guests toured the state, then had a hearing before the governor and held a public rally on May 7. Nevertheless, Governor Marcus H. Holcomb refused to call the special session. Then in August, Tennessee became the thirty-sixth state to ratify the 19th amendment, and the question of whether women would vote in the 1920 elections was settled. Suddenly Catt’s threat had teeth. The new voters had the power to punish obstructionists. Holcomb reversed course and called a special session for September. Connecticut ratified on September 21, 1920, in time to avoid backlash in the November elections.[4]

  • letter from Ruth McIntire Dadourian to Grace Raymond Hebard giving instructions for speakers in Connecticut
  • Speaking Points document: ideas for speakers at the governor’s hearing and rally in Connecticut.

Ironically, Wyoming had followed a similar path. The collaboration between Hebard and Catt had been established when Catt came to Wyoming in November 1919 to help persuade Governor Robert D. Carey to call a special legislative session to make Wyoming the first state to ratify the 19th amendment. Carey refused. Wyoming had never had a special session, special sessions were expensive, Wyoming’s women already had the right to vote, so there was no need to burden legislators with a long trip in winter. Catt, Hebard, and the twenty-five other women of the Wyoming Ratification Committee were turned away. But Carey, too, changed his mind and summoned his legislators out in January of 1920 because “the opponents of suffrage have been using as an argument against granting equal rights to women that Wyoming had not ratified for the reason that suffrage had proved a failure in this State…[W]e could not allow such a charge to be unchallenged.” Wyoming became the 27th state to ratify on January 28th.[5]

Grace Raymond Hebard and Carrie Chapman Catt, and several other women posing for a photo outside. Probably taken in 1921 when Catt was in Laramie to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
Photograph: Grace Raymond Hebard and Carrie Chapman Catt, probably taken in 1921 when Catt was in Laramie to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Wyoming.

Catt’s friendship with Hebard and her association with Wyoming did not end there. In 1921 the University of Wyoming conferred its first honorary doctorate degree. The honoree chosen was Carrie Chapman Catt. “We all know,” wrote Ida Husted Harper of NAWSA’s Bureau of Suffrage Education to Grace Raymond Hebard, “that you were back of the idea of conferring the doctor’s degree on Mrs. Catt  and we think it was one of the best things you ever did, and you have done so many.”[6]


[1] Telegram, Carrie Chapman Catt to Grace Raymond Hebard, April 12, 1920, Box 21, Folder 6, Grace Raymond Hebard papers, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
[2] “Speaking Points,” undated typescript, Box 21, Folder 6, Hebard papers
[3] “Advance Guard of Suffrage Emergency Corps Arrives,” clipping from New York Tribune, May 2, 1920, Box 21, Folder 6, Hebard papers
[4] Press release by National American Woman Suffrage Association, April 22, 1920, Box 21, Folder 7, Hebard papers; Letter, Ruth McIntire Dadourian to Grace Raymond Hebard, May 4, 1920, Box 21, Folder 6, Hebard papers; “The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage in Connecticut,” Connecticut Explored, https://www.ctexplored.org/the-long-road-to-womens-suffrage-in-connecticut/
[5] “Ratification of National Woman Suffrage Amendment…Governor Carey’s Message,” typescript, Box 21, Folder 6, Hebard papers; “Wyoming Ratifies the 19th Amendment,” WyoHistory.org  https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/wyoming-ratifies-19th-amendment
[6] University of Wyoming, Past Honorary Degree Recipients, http://www.uwyo.edu/honorarydegree/past_honorary_degree_recepients/;  letter, Ida Husted Harper to Grace Raymond Hebard, Dec. 23, 1921, Box 32, Folder 29, Hebard papers


Blog contribution by D. Claudia Thompson, Processing Manager, American Heritage Center

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Posted in Local history, Politics, Suffrage -- United States, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Western history, western politics and leadership, Women -- suffrage, women's history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

E. Deane Hunton and Steamboat

E. Deane Hunton was born in Virginia in 1885. When he was three years old his family moved out around Wheatland, Wyoming.

E. Deane Hunton attended the University of Wyoming where he obtained a degree in mining engineering. During his time here, Hunton lettered in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track. He also was a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi, a national commerce fraternity. Along with these accomplishments, E. Deane Hunton received an MBA degree from Harvard University. Hunton worked for the war trade board during the last two years of World War I in Washington D.C. In 1922-1923, he traveled overseas to Europe for a yearlong sabbatical.

  • newspaper article
  • photo of men's basketball team

Amongst these many achievements, one stands out as having the longest legacy; Hunton was the creator of the University of Wyoming’s infamous Steamboat logo. In 1909, Hunton found a picture of the cowboy, Guy Holt, riding the bucking horse, Steamboat. Hunton quickly sketched it out and sent it in to the baseball team to use on their uniforms. When he became the faculty manager for the University of Wyoming athletics, he implemented the design onto all the athletic uniforms. The University of Wyoming now oversees the trademark for this logo for both the school and the state.

  • man riding a bucking bronc in the middle of a field
  • Cowboy Homecoming nametag

Additionally, the 1937 Wyoming license plates used the Steamboat logo and University of Wyoming colors by suggestion of E. Deane Hunton. These licenses plates commemorated the University of Wyoming’s 50th anniversary.

newpaper article
Newspaper clipping of the article run in The Branding Iron about Hunton’s achievement of getting the University colors and Steamboat onto the 1937 license plates. E. Deane Hunton Collection, Accession Number 400069, Box 6, Book 12, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The visual materials in this collection cover everything in E. Deane Hunton’s personal and professional life from all around the world. It is at the American Heritage Center under the collection title, E. Deane Hunton Collection, or the collection number, 400069. Contact the American Heritage Center if you would like to learn more about this fascinating man!


Blog contribution by: Anne-Marie Stratton , Carlson Endowment Student Intern

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Posted in Local history, Sports and Recreation, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Legacy of Zdeněk Salzmann for the Arapaho (Hinónoʼeiteen)[1]

November is Native American Heritage month. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) refers to it as a “month to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native People.” [2] That celebration started in 1990, when George H. W. Bush “approved a joint resolution designating November [as] Native American Heritage Month.”[3]

Zdeněk Salzmann, an anthropological linguist, traveled to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, to research the Arapaho language and culture.  His project, which was part of his PhD thesis, started in 1949, but continued in the 1950s, 1960s and later in the 1980s, when this time he was acting as principal investigator for the “Arapaho Cultural Heritage Reinforcement project” with the University of Massachusetts.

His work involved interviews with the elders that were fluent in Arapaho, inquiring about their customs, but also researching the vocabulary, verbs, songs, tales and folklore, also creating an English-Arapaho dictionary out of index cards.  In 1963, he published his thesis, “A Sketch of Arapaho Grammar”.

Arapaho translated songs
Translated songs, Box 15, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Collection #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wymoing.
translation of body parts from Arapaho to English
Body parts, Box 15, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Collection #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

For the Wind River Indian Reservation tribe, the preservation of their culture is becoming increasingly important. Only a few dozen amongst the elders speak it fluently. The use of the language was put aside in schools when the missionaries settled on the reservation in the late 1800s until the late 1930’s. Only English was allowed to be spoken in the classroom of the St. Stephens Indian Boarding School.[4]

In 2010, UNESCO listed the language as severely endangered, but efforts to bring back the daily use of the Arapaho Language, started in 2000, when the Tribe got a chance to partner with a linguistics professor from the University of Colorado Boulder.  Andrew Cowell used the research material created by Salzmann, and over the years, it led to the creation of a dictionary, edited three times, and was produced using the index cards that Zdeněk Salzmann created. Andrew Cowell’s project also includes an outreach website which can serve as an educational tool, about the Arapaho language and culture.

Arapaho language dictionary cards
Letter “A”, dictionary cards, Box 18, Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers, Coll. #10396, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Arapaho Language Project[5] is ongoing, and the Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Indian Reservation, benefits from tools such as websites, phone apps and video tutorials used by the students in the classrooms.[6] 

To learn more about the Arapaho language and culture, see the Zdeněk Salzmann Arapaho Indian research papers at the American Heritage Center. Part of the collection is also available digitally.


[1] https://verbs.colorado.edu/arapaho/public/view_search
[2] http://www.ncai.org/initiatives/native-american-heritage-month
[3] https://nativeamericanheritagemonth.gov/about/
[4] Meyers, Micalea. “Revitalizing the Arapaho Language.UWyo: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming, vol. 21, no. 1, 2019, pp. 24-28.
[5] https://www.colorado.edu/p13d6ec61edd/
[6] Simpson, Kevin. “To Save Their Dying Language, the Arapaho turn to High-tech Apps, Old-school Flash Cards and a New Generation.” Denver Post, 23 April 2017, Accessed 23 October 2019.


Blog contribution by: Alexandra Cardin, Archival Processor at the AHC

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Posted in American Indian history, Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Finding Aids: November 2019

We’ve had a productive fall (read: winter) processing even more collections over the past few months. Here’s another round of finding aids we’ve published so you can see what we’ve been up to.

As a reminder, Finding Aids act as a table of contents for our collections. These aids help you find information about specific collections we have, and the information contained in the collections. We create these aids so it’s easier for researchers to figure out if collection is relevant to their work.

The strengths of our collections include Wyoming and the American West, politics and public policy, ranching and energy, entertainment and popular culture, industry, transportation, and military history. The documents and archives we hold serve as raw data for scholarship and heritage work, and support thriving communities of place, identity, and interest in Wyoming and beyond.

hallway of archival materials and shelving

Finding Aid Updates (from collections processed 7/11/19 – 10/10/19)


Petroleum developer J.H. Rowe. Rowe was a Montana businessman who developed oil fields in the early 1900s.

Oil investor Charles F. Moon. Moon invested in Victor Ziegler’s Bonanza Oil Company which drilled successfully in Wyoming in the 1950s.

City engineer W.E. Zipfel. Zipfel worked in Laramie’s Chief Engineer’s office platting railroad and telephone lines.

Oil executive William L. Connelly. Connelly headed a Sinclair oil subsidiary in Wyoming at the time of the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Photojournalist Phil Brodatz. Brodatz won top honors for his photographs at the 1964 World’s Fair, and his images appeared on UNICEF Christmas cards.

NASA scientist and psychologist Richard F. Haines. Haines documented and studied UFO sightings.

Actor and writer Joseph Julian. Julian worked with Norman Corwin and Orson Welles before being blacklisted in the 1950s.

Laramie business Knight Oil Company. The Knight family operated a garage, car dealership, and oil company.

Continental Oil Company materials. Included are reports from Rocky Mountain oilfields in the 1920s.

Laramie pharmacist Charles Settele. Settele’s pharmacy operated for 17 years and was known throughout Wyoming.

The AHC has digitized and made accessible online 4340 negatives from the Ludwig & Svenson Studio photographs collection #00167.

Ludwig & Svenson Studio was a family owned photography studio in Laramie, Wyoming during the twentieth century. Originally named Svenson Photography, the studio was established by Henning Svenson in 1905. In 1943, Svenson Photography was purchased by Walter B. Ludwig, who renamed it Ludwig & Svenson Studio. The business was later renamed Ludwig Photography. The company mainly served a local clientele and was also known for its photographs of Laramie and its scenic photographs of Wyoming.

The collection contains negatives, interpositives, and prints of Laramie, Wyoming residents, Laramie public school students, and University of Wyoming groups, students, and other affiliates; photographs of Laramie architecture including the University of Wyoming, businesses, and houses; and Wyoming scenes including Sand Creek and King Brothers Ranch, images of organizations and groups within Laramie, and events in Laramie and at the University of Wyoming.


These and other AHC collections can be discovered in the University of Wyoming Libraries catalog. We are open for walk-in research on Mondays 10 am – 7 pm and Tuesdays through Fridays 8 am – 5 pm. For distance research assistance please contact our reference department at ahcref@uwyo.edu or 307-766-3756.

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Posted in Digital collections, energy resources, Finding Aids, Hollywood history, Laramie, Local history, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, Natural resources, newly cataloged collections, newly processed collections, resources, Teapot Dome scandal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting the Women Back into Women’s Suffrage

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the passage of Wyoming’s woman suffrage law.  Wyoming’s women were voting and holding public office decades before the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920.  Indeed, the successful implementation of woman suffrage in Wyoming and other western states was critical to the nationwide success of the women’s movement for voting rights.  By empowering its women, Wyoming was essentially conducting a social experiment – one that was closely watched by both supporters and opponents of suffrage.  And, the experiment proved successful – western women voted and held public office, proving that woman suffrage could work.

red pennant with "Wyoming" and a chicken
Pennant that was used in a presentation given by Mary Bellamy in Washington D.C. in 1917, when she was supporting the war effort and the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment. AHC Mary Bellamy Collection 000045 Box 1

Note with pennant says: “Red pennant which Mrs. Mary Bellamy used to illustrate a talk at the Suffrage Convention in Washington, D.C., 1917. Donated by Mary C. Bellamy.”

And yet, while the story of the passage of Wyoming’s suffrage bill has been told many times, there is still much about this suffrage history that we do not know.  In particular, we do not fully understand the ways in which the right to vote and hold office impacted the lives of ordinary Wyoming women, or their impact on the history of the state.  If we want to have an accurate understanding of how women got the vote and what they did with it, we need to tell those women’s stories. 

But this is not always easy to do.  One of the challenges of writing the history of women in the nineteenth century is finding sources.  When a historian sits down to write a political history of the nineteenth or early twentieth century, men dominate the historical record.  Men show up in many places in the sources – in administrative government documents, in proceedings of legislatures and in newspaper reports.  But because this is an era in which it was generally not “respectable” for women to operate in the public sphere, there is rarely a public record of women’s activities.  Women were largely excluded from power and from public life, and so women’s voices are usually left out of these types of sources.   And even women who were involved with politics or activism often considered it unwomanly to publicize their activities. 

Accordingly, histories of woman suffrage in Wyoming often focus on the men who were involved in passing and implementing the bill. And certainly these men are important – without their actions, women’s suffrage could never have come to Wyoming.  But at the same time, their story is not the full story. 

Finding out what the women were doing and thinking requires a fair amount of detective work.  Fortunately, the American Heritage Center has many archival materials related to Wyoming women that can help us to understand the nuances and complexities of the period.  The lack of public records created by or about women in this era means that scholars must often rely on private documents such as letters, diaries, family histories and family photographs in order to understand the lives and motivations of women.  Fortunately, the AHC has several rich collections that shed light on important political women.  Supported by a research grant from the AHC, I was able to spend some of the summer of 2019 digging through some of the rich and interesting materials held in these collections.    

letter written in cursive
1871 Letter from Amalia Post to her sister, describing her jury service. Morton Post Papers, 01362

One of the most important collections is the letters of Amalia Post.  Post was a vocal advocate for women’s rights.  In 1870, the first year in which women had the vote, Post was one of two women who served on the Laramie County Republican Central Committee.  That committee nominated two women for office in the September 1870 election.  Neither woman won her race, but both secured more than 40% of the vote.  Post also served on one of the first juries to include women, and when the territorial legislature attempted to repeal suffrage in 1871, Post lobbied the governor to save it.  Post also met national leaders of the suffrage movement and was named a Lifetime Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.   Without the advocacy of women like Post, woman suffrage in Wyoming might have fizzled out or been repealed.  But she took action to see that it was secure and was enacted in practice as well as in law. 

typed letter
Letter discussing the election of the all-female city government of Jackson Hole in 1920. From the Grace Raymond Hebard Papers 400008 Box 26, Folder 3.

The AHC also holds the files of Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard.   Hebard was deeply influential in the development of the University of Wyoming and served the institution for more than forty-five years in a variety of roles.  She was also a member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. She recognized that Wyoming had played a unique and important role in the women’s rights movement, and she attempted to preserve and document that history.  Hebard’s own writings on the topic have been debunked by more recent scholars, but nevertheless, her files still serve as valuable sources.   Hebard had connections in every part of the state, and she gathered information on women’s political history from a vast network of correspondents.  She and her students clipped newspapers, preserved documents, and gathered primary accounts related to women who served in elected office.  Dr. Hebard also corresponded with national suffrage leaders, and these letters provide insight into the role Wyoming played in the national movement.

sheet music with flag and handwriting on it
Sheet music was composed for Emma Smith DeVoe, one of the most important suffrage activists in the American West. The DeVoes were friends of Mary Bellamy, and this song was performed at many suffrage campaigns. AHC Mary Bellamy Collection 000045 Box 1

And finally, the AHC also preserves records of women who were active in early Wyoming politics.  Wyoming’s suffrage law granted not only the right to vote but also to hold office.  One woman who pioneered in this area was Mary Bellamy, whose papers are held at AHC.  Bellamy was elected Superintendent of Schools in Albany County in 1902.  In 1910 she became the first woman elected to the Wyoming State Legislature, serving in the 1911 session.  Bellamy was Wyoming’s representative in Washington D.C. during the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment.  The AHC houses collections related to all of these activities.

This is just a small sampling of the many rich women’s sources available from the AHC.  There is still much to be learned about the women who voted and served in office in the early days of the Equality State.


Blog contribution by Jennifer Helton, Assistant Professor of History at Ohlone College. Helton was a 2019 AHC Travel Grant recipient and will be presenting as part of the Women’s Suffrage Symposium at the University of Wyoming Nov. 7 – 8.

For more information on Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming, check out the Wyoming State Libraries Women’s Suffrage in Wyoming Libguide.

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Posted in grants, Laramie, Local history, Suffrage -- United States, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Women -- suffrage, women's history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Archives Rewind Vol. 8 (Halloween Edition)

It’s the last week of October, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t pay homage to Halloween with this edition of Archives Rewind — our occasional highlights of past “Archives on the Air” programs.

Let’s rewind for Vol. 8 (Halloween Edition)…

Episode 160: Monster Suit Appendicitis

While filming Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, actor Kenpachrio Satsuma got appendicitis and had to have surgery while still in the monster suit.

man in monster suit for Godzilla movie
Publicity photo from Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster of actor Kenpachiro Satsuma as Hedorah, the smog monster, 1971. Box 106, Forrest J. Ackerman papers.

Episode 138: Detectives & Dracula

Eric Taylor was a screenwriter in the 1930s and 40s. He wrote 1945’s Dick Tracy movie and six Universal monster movies — including Son of Dracula.

Detective Story Magazine cover with two people on cover and text
Cover of “Detective” magazine, a pulp fiction publication, May 1930. Box 1, Eric Taylor papers.

Episode 116: The Haunter In The Dark

Famed sci-author H.P. Lovecraft mentored Robert Bloch. In 1935, Bloch wrote a story with a character based on Lovecraft.

black and white magazine cover with drawing of four foxes
Khatru 5 science fiction magazine cover, undated. Box 59, Robert Bloch papers.

Episode 99: How to Become A Werewolf

In 1953, Forrest Ackerman co-created the magazine “Famous monsters of Filmland.” Fans often wrote letters, asking questions about sci-fi movies. One fan wrote the magazine about werewolves…

pencil drawing of a werewolf
A fan drawing of the Wolfman that was sent to Forrest Ackerman, undated. Box 50, Forrest Ackerman papers.

The purpose of the Archives Rewind series is to highlight episodes from our “Archives on the Air” segment that airs on Wyoming Public Media.

“Archives on the Air” can be heard on Wyoming Public Radio Monday through Friday at 11:50 am, and 6:50 pm or online on Wyoming Public Media’s website.

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Posted in Archives on the Air, Authors and literature, Horror, Motion picture actors and actresses, motion picture history, science fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giant Gila Monster

Last Halloween, we brought you a blog post on The Killer Shrews, a low-budget horror movie shot in Dallas, Texas, and released in 1959.  What is the film’s connection to the American Heritage Center?  We hold the papers of Forrest J. Ackerman, the editor of the fanzine “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” and that collection includes a poster for The Killer Shrews.

decorative movie poster image with text
The Giant Gila Monster movie poster

This year’s Halloween blog post focuses on The Giant Gila Monster (1959), which was also shot in Dallas, Texas, and a poster of which is also included in the Ackerman papers.  Like The Killer Shrews, The Giant Gila Monster, which Wikipedia describes as a “hot rod/monster/science fiction film,” takes as its antagonist an aberration of nature—the title creature.  As such, it is akin to other 1950s science-fiction movies such as Them! (1954 – giant ants), Tarantula! (1955), Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), The Giant Claw (1957), and Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959).  Both The Killer Shrews and The Giant Gila Monster were financed and produced by Gordon McLendon, a Texas radio pioneer and owner of a chain of drive-in theatres who also provided the voiceover narration for the latter.  That movie was co-written and directed by Ray Kellogg, who also directed The Killer Shrews and another movie produced and financed by McLendon, My Dog, Buddy (1960).  (Kellogg is also credited with co-directing, with John Wayne, the notorious The Green Berets (1968).)

The Giant Gila Monster movie trailer

All three McLendon-financed movies were produced by actor Ken Curtis, who also appeared in The Killer Shrews and My Dog Buddy.  Curtis is probably best known for his role as Festus in almost 300 episodes of the TV series Gunsmoke (1955-1975).  He also appeared in numerous films directed by John Ford, perhaps most famously as Charlie McCorry in The Searchers (1956). 

A clip from The Searchers film, in which McCorry, who is wearing a dark vest, and Martin Pawley, played by Jeffrey Hunter, fight for the affections of Laurie Jorgensen, played by Vera Miles.

As for The Giant Gila Monster, you can see it online in several versions, including the original black-and-white version, a colorized version, and a comedic (or, more specifically, an intentionally comedic) Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version

The American Heritage has numerous collections devoted to various aspects of popular culture, including movies, comic books, and television.


Blog contribution by Roger Simon, AHC Simpson Institute Archivist

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Once A Cowboy, Always A Cowboy: The History of Homecoming at the University of Wyoming

Today, homecoming celebrations are often associated with fall and football, but it may not always have been true.  The tradition of homecoming is generally a celebration of welcoming former students and members of high schools, colleges, or churches within the United States to celebrate an organization’s existence.[1]  This definition does not explicitly involve football, so the question remains about the origins of homecoming celebrations within the United States and at the University of Wyoming.

two people on a parade float that reads "Once a Cowboy, Always a Cowboy"
Homecoming Parade, 2015. UW Photo.

The history of homecoming celebrations is ambiguous.  It is often recognized as taking place in September or October and revolving around a central event such as football, basketball, or soccer game so that alumni and former students can join in rooting for their alma mater with current students and the community.  Historically, most homecoming celebrations include a homecoming court, parade, tailgate or picnic, pep rally, alumni band, and homecoming dance.

large group of dressed up people standing in gymnasium
University of Wyoming Homecoming Dance, Laramie, Wyoming, 1927 (Negative Number 14851.1), Box 11, Ludwig & Svenson Studio Photographs, Accession Number 167, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Many schools have claimed to have held the first homecoming celebrations.  The list includes Baylor University in 1909, Southwestern University in 1909, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1910, and the University of Missouri in 1911.  The main events for these homecoming celebrations were the parade and football game, where the opponent is usually the home team’s rival.

paper with text
ASUW Homecoming Committee, Box 30, Folder ASUW Correspondence Telegrams, 1919-1920, Samuel H. Knight papers, Collection #400044, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The University of Wyoming Alumni Association, established on March 26, 1895, established an annual gathering for former students and alumni of the University of Wyoming centered around commencement.[2]  The gathering usually took place in the summer months, primarily in June, and activities took place over five days.  The reunions usually included music recitals, baccalaureate ceremonies, the Cadet Ball, an alumni banquet, an alumni play, commencement, an official meeting of the alumni association, and many small-group gatherings. [3] 

letter with text
ASUW Alumni Invitation Letter, Box 30, Folder ASUW Correspondence Telegrams, 1919-1920. Samuel H. Knight papers, Collection #400044, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The first annual banquet and business meeting of the Alumni of the University of Wyoming occurred on June 20, 1895 at the Ladies Study Hall.  Annual dues for the members were set at 25 cents per person; in addition to the annual dues, members in attendance of the annual gathering were required to pay an extra dollar per person.  To put this in perspective, one dollar in 1895 is approximately equal to $29.89 in 2018.  Mrs. Reiger furnished refreshments for sixteen at $11, and members provided ice and cake.[4] At the annual business meeting, elections were held.

Despite previous years of alumni gatherings, October of 1922 is attributed as the official documented date of the University of Wyoming’s first homecoming. Dr. Samuel H. Knight, an alumnus of the University of Wyoming and professor of Geology, served as the president of the Alumni Association from 1921-1924 and served on the athletic committee.  Knight was keen on the national movement of coinciding football with homecoming celebrations and was instrumental in collaborating with the Alumni Association to move the alumni celebrations to coincide with the first football game of the 1922 season. Part of this effort included having an official setting for alumni, former and current students, faculty, staff, and the community to enjoy the games while creating a revenue stream to continue the athletic programs.  Although Wyoming football origins date as early as 1893, the football games were played in Prexy’s Pasture. 

black and white photo of group of men -- a football team.
Black and white photograph of the University of Wyoming football team, 1895 (Negative number 21209 and 25483), Box 11 A, Folder 9, Holliday Family Papers, Collection #347, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

In 1922, Knight fundraised, used his own monies and sweat equity and community connections to establish Corbett field as the new football field.   Knight also worked diligently with alumni and students to finish building the bleachers on the old Corbett field in time for the game.  It was a true community effort.

letter with text to citizens of Laramie
Thank You Letter to the Citizens of Laramie, Box 8, Folder Office-Homecoming 1929, University of Wyoming. College of Engineering and Applied Science records, Collection #550000, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Over the years alumni reunions have been replaced with homecoming and as a result of and in conjunction with societal changes, the traditions of homecoming have changed.  In 1921, the University granted its first honorary degree, an LL.D. degree, to Carrie Chapman Catt, a leading advocate for women’s suffrage.[5]  That year, Catt not only received the honorary degree but also gave the commencement speech.  Despite the first honorary degree being awarded 11 years earlier, it wasn’t until 1932 that honorary degrees became an accepted procedure. 

Beginning in 1922, the homecoming celebrations evolved and included class reunions, open houses, the homecoming dance, homecoming parades, and the football game.[6] Homecoming served as a way for the alumni, current students, and the community to come together to celebrate.  Most memorable is parade floats, which usually the fraternities, sororities, and campus organizations funded themselves.  Each year a theme would be announced and the parade floats would relate to the theme. Due to the costs of creating floats, there was discussion of canceling the parades certain years, but significant pushback from students and the community makes it one of the most beloved activities to this day. 

paper with text
Homecoming Schedule of events from 1931. AHC UW Photo Files, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Fast forward to today. Homecoming traditions of old exist and new traditions have come to be. One of the oldest traditions for UW’s Homecoming is the annual Homecoming Sing. The program is hosted by Iron Skull – UW’s junior honorary organization. The group coordinates many student organizations, fraternities, and sororities participating in an annual sing and dance competition. Groups take the music to songs and change the lyrics to match the homecoming theme.

In recent years, student group competitions have become popular to get students excited for Homecoming. The competitions often incorporate Homecoming Sing, UW Athletics annual car push competition, and other various competition-style programs throughout the week. In addition to alumni and community-focused programs, other student-focused activities occur throughout the week such as the ASUW annual barbeque.

a student on knees in a pile of shaving cream searching for words
A Homecoming Week Spirit Relay was held on Prexy’s Pasture on Oct. 13, 2015. Student teams participated in a variety of tasks to race against the clock. The Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) won the relay. Aaron Anderson, of LDSSA, searches for phrases in the shaving cream tarp. The winning phrase was the Homecoming theme, “Once a Cowboy, Always A Cowboy.” UW Photo.

One newer tradition that started in the fall of 2013 is The Big Event. Since it’s creation The Big Event has acted as the annual homecoming week kick-off event. The purpose of the program is to promote campus and community unity as UW students come together for a day to do service-oriented activities in the surrounding community. Hundreds of students gather early in the morning to receive their volunteer assignments and then go out into Laramie to provide support to community residents through the afternoon. The program serves as a way for students to say “Thank You” to their community.

person with shovel doing yard work
The Big Event, UW’s annual Homecoming Kickoff event was held on Oct. 10, 2015. Hundreds of students visited dozens of locations and homes across Laramie for a day of community service. Some painted homes, helped out with yard work or cleaned up trash. UW Photo.

The culmination of the student competitions ends with student groups, departments, and community groups taking part in the annual parade. The parade happens the same day as the football game – and is another great way for community members, students, and alumni to come together and celebrate.

And though some things have changed throughout the years — the purpose of Homecoming has always remained the same for the University of Wyoming. It will always serve as a way to build and reinforce our Poke Pride for students, alums, and the community.

Homecoming 2019 kicks off on Saturday, October 12 with The Big Event and this year’s theme is “Breaking Through.” For a complete listing of events and activities taking place, please visit the UW Homecoming website. Additionally, the AHC will have University of Wyoming items on display the October 1 – October 19. Our hours of operation are available on the AHC website.

The American Heritage Center serves as the official repository for the University of Wyoming (UW) Archives. The UW Archives not only collects the official records of the university but also accepts donations of materials documenting experiences of alumni, former students, staff, administration, faculty, and affiliated entities of the University.  Please contact Sara Davis, university archivist, by email, sarad@uwyo.edu, or 307-766-6832 for more information.

Have fun memories of Homecoming as a student, alum or community member? Leave us a comment below!


[1] Wikipedia. Homecoming. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homecoming

[2] Minute Book, 1891-1899 Box 2, Folder 2, University of Wyoming. Alumni Relations Records, Collection Number 512002, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

[3] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 100.

[4] Minute Book, 1891-1899 Box 2, Folder 2, University of Wyoming. Alumni Relations Records, Collection Number 512002, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

[5] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 232.

[6] Hardy, Deborah, Wyoming University: The First 100 Years, 1886-1986 (Laramie, Wyo.: University of Wyoming, 1986), 101.


Research and blog written by Sara Davis, University Archivist with contributions from Jennifer Kirk, the AHC’s Marketing & Communications Specialist

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Posted in Athletics, community collections, Current events, Student Life, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming history, Wyoming, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment