Testing your Wyoming History Knowledge

We already know you’re brilliant, but here are the answers to the test just in case.

“Women suffrage stems from Esther Morris’ tea party.”

False. As much as we Wyomingites love the story of Esther Morris extracting suffrage promises from legislative candidates over tea and biscuits, research has shown that Mrs. Morris had little, if anything, to do with the introduction of the suffrage bill to the Wyoming Legislature. Much of the credit should go to legislator William Bright, possibly his wife Julia, Gov. John A. Campbell, and Territorial Secretary Edward M. Lee.

“Portugee Phillips rode War Eagle all the way to Fort Laramie.”

True…well, most of it. Phillips indeed made the celebrated ride from Fort Phil Kearny to Fort Laramie in the deep of winter to seek reinforcements for the post after the Fetterman fight. There is a mythical part though relates to his horse. Almost certainly, he did not ride Col. Carrington’s prize Kentucky thoroughbred. Even more certainly, he changed mounts at numerous points during the 235-miles ride. He did not ride just one horse the entire distance.

“All known copies of Banditti of the Plains were burned.” 

False. Copies of the book were neither banned nor burned. According to historian Pat Hall who conducted extensive research on the myth, the confusion resulted from the impounding of issues of the newspaper edited by A.S. Mercer, the Banditti author, as a result of debt disputes at the time the serialized version of George Dunning’s confession was being published in Mercer’s newspaper. The book was not involved in that action nor at any later point. Copies do exist in most libraries.

“Edison invented the electric light on the shores of Battle Lake in Carbon County.”

False. Wouldn’t it be great if that was true? Alas, it is a myth that was perpetuated on the Wyoming highway map and by a historic marker near the lake. That story cannot be accurate. Edison did vacation at the site, but when he returned to his Menlo Park, NJ, laboratory, it was more than year before he came across a substance suitable for a light bulb filament. The story of his purported “discovery” in Wyoming, where he supposedly watched the ends of a bamboo fishing pole glow when it had fallen into the campfire, was not told until nearly three decades after it was supposed to have occurred. Edison never mentioned such an incident in his lifetime.

“Chili was invented in Wyoming.” 

False…maybe? Denver Post columnist Red Fenwick humorously claimed that chili was invented by a Wyoming sheepherder to keep the feet of his sheep dogs warm on cold nights. The sheepherder sent some to a Texas friend who ate it by mistake, “which Texans have been doing ever since.” Although there is no evidence favoring Fenwick’s claim, neither has it been refuted…

“Winston Churchill narrowly missed being born in Wyoming.”

False. The only recorded time that Churchill’s parents vacationed in Wyoming at Moreton Frewen’s ranch in the Powder River country, they left their 10-year-old son Winston at home in England.

Our thanks to the Roberts’ brothers Wyoming Almanac for this test. We hope you scored an ‘A’!

Posted in American Perspectives on Asia, Current events, Uncategorized, Wyoming history | Tagged | 2 Comments

For Wyoming Statehood Day, Test Your State History Knowledge

It’s been 128 years as of July 10 since Wyoming became the 44th state in the union. To celebrate, we thought we’d test your knowledge of Wyoming history. This little test is courtesy of the Wyoming Almanac, but no peeking! We’ll post the answers on July 11.

Ready, set…think Wyoming!  And good luck!

True or False:

“Women suffrage stems from Esther Morris’ tea party.”

“Portugee Phillips rode War Eagle all the way to Fort Laramie.”

“All known copies of Banditti of the Plains were burned.”

“Edison invented the electric light on the shores of Battle Lake in Carbon County.”

“Chili was invented in Wyoming.”

“Winston Churchill narrowly missed being born in Wyoming.”

 

 

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Picnic Time!

It’s the week of Independence Day and that has us thinking about the great outdoors and picnics. To celebrate, we went straight to the Isberg Family Collection. If their photos are any indication. Bill and Ginx Isberg loved to picnic! The Isberg Family Collection at the AHC documents not only their fun outdoors, but also Laramie as it appeared from the 1890s to about 1918.

Ginx Isberg (in black) is seen here enjoying an outdoor lunch with friends at a location outside Laramie. Her husband, Bill Isberg, owned a store in Laramie. Both were amateur photographers, so our guess is that Bill is the one taking the photo. What we can see in the photo are saltines, olives, potato flakes, bananas, and bags of something most likely delicious.

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Isberg Family papers, Accession #215, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Here the Isbergs and friends are enjoying a picnic at Crow Creek near Cheyenne. Watermelon is definitely on the menu. There also something in those jars on the blanket. Pickled eggs, perhaps?

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Isberg Family papers, Accession #215, Box 2, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Isbergs joined Albany County rancher J.W. Johnson and his family for this outing. The photo doesn’t indicate where they are, but they’re certainly spiffy.

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Isberg Family papers, Accession #215, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

We especially like the full headgear of the possible driver of one of the autos, or maybe she was a passenger. Either way she was prepared for any kind of weather that came her way. Not sure who she is. Maybe the folks in the party didn’t know either!

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Are you now inspired to have a picnic? We hope so. The folks here at the American Heritage Center wish you and your family a safe and happy 4th, and picnics filled with fun!

Posted in community collections, Current events, found in the archive, Holidays, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Local history, Photographic collections, Uncategorized, Wyoming history | Tagged | 2 Comments

Summer Exhibit Series: Influential People Buried at Greenhill Cemetery

Greenhill Cemetery, situated less than a block away from the University of Wyoming’s campus, is almost as old as Laramie itself. Once a lawless town that struggled to be governed, Laramie and the surrounding landscape was dotted with various graves wherever people could find an open and available space.

When the first high school was built just beyond Seventh Street, graves of suspected outlaws were found. More graves were found near the intersection of Twelfth and Garfield as well as near Knight Hall and the College of Nursing. Northwest of the Laramie river was a Catholic cemetery and other cemeteries could be found in west Laramie.

By the 1880s, the need for an established city cemetery was recognized and land was obtained from rancher James M. Ingersoll for the proposed cemetery. By 1882, the cemetery began the process of transferring bodies from the various other graves and cemeteries around town. This took time due to the permission required for bodies to be moved, but eventually, all found their way to Greenhill Cemetery.

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Certificate of Membership, Fire Department, Laramie Hook & Ladder Company No. 1. Isberg Family papers, Accession #215, Box 6, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Over the last 150 years, some of Laramie’s most influential or famous people have been buried in Greenhill Cemetery. This list of well-known families and people includes names such as Grace Raymond Hebard, Thurman Arnold, Samuel H. Knight, Henning Svenson, William H. Holliday, and many others who were known for their contributions to Laramie.

Many of these names can now be found in the collections of the AHC, including those of the Downey Family and Thurman Arnold. Over the next two weeks, these collections, along with those of other influential people, will be highlighted within the exhibits.

Stephen Wheeler Downey (1839-1902) was born in Maryland and was admitted to the bar in 1863. He served in the northern army during the Civil War, attaining the rank of colonel. He married during this time and had two daughters. In 1869 S.W. Downey followed a brother, William O. Downey, to Laramie. His wife died shortly after their arrival, and he married Evangeline Victoria Owen in 1872. Downey practiced law in Laramie and served in the state legislature. He drafted the bill creating the University of Wyoming; and he also attempted to develop several mines in the area. The Downey Family collection contains information on various family members as well as a collection of family history materials.

Thurman Wesley Arnold, the son of lawyer C.P. Arnold, was born in Laramie, Wyoming, and educated at the University of Wyoming, Princeton, and Harvard, where he earned a law degree in 1914. He practiced law briefly in Chicago before serving with the U.S. Army in France during World War I. Arnold was named assistant attorney general of the U.S. in charge of the antitrust division in 1938 and was a Department of Justice representative on the Temporary National Economic Committee from 1938 to 1941. He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1943 and left the bench in 1945 to resume private practice with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Arnold, Fortas & Porter, where he remained active until his death in 1969. The Thurman Wesley Arnold collection contains professional and personal correspondence, biographical information on his family, and other materials related to his work.

The Influential People Buried at Greenhill Cemetery exhibit will run from June 25 to July 9. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room of the American Heritage Center. Reading Room hours are Monday 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Don’t forget to join the Greenhill Cemetery Tour on July 6th at 5:30 pm to learn more about the various people that are buried there!

– Submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

Posted in announcements, Current events, events, exhibits, found in the archive, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Local history, Uncategorized, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Friendship Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick and Gerald Fried

Gerald Fried, a Julliard trained composer for television and film and a still active nonagenarian, began performing music in his Bronx neighborhood during the 1940s. There he met Stanley Kubrick, who would go on to become a celebrated film director, screenwriter, and producer.

Kubrick and Fried attended the same high school and became friends when Kubrick asked to join the same baseball club as Fried’s.[1]

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Baseball Club, “The Barracudas, Gerald Fried at lower right, 1941. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

When they met, Fried’s passion was music and Kubrick’s was photography. A few years later, in 1951, Kubrick made a short film documentary about boxer Walter Cartier, whom he had photographed and written about for Look magazine a year earlier. Kubrick rented a camera and produced a 16-minute black-and-white documentary titled Day of the Fight.[2]  Fried recalled with a laugh that Kubrick asked him to do the music because “I was the only musician he knew”.[3]

Gerald Fried went on to score four other Kubrick movies: Fear and Desire (1953); Killer’s Kiss (1955); The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957).

 

 

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Movie stills from Fear and Desire, undated. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 35, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

 

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Movie stills from Fear and Desire, undated. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 35, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

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Part of score from Fear and Desire, undated. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 35, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming. caption

Cinematic photo from The Killing 1956 Box 106

Cinematic photo from The Killing. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 106, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

While shooting these films, Kubrick still pursued his love of photography.

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Photo of Gerald Fried by Stanley Kubrick, ca. 1955. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Although they did not work together after Paths of Glory, Fried and Kubrick remained in contact, writing to each other from time to time.

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Letter from Stanley Kubrick, 1981. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

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Letter from Stanley Kubrick, 1991. Gerald Fried papers, Accession #2883, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Stanley Kubrick is most remembered for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-wrote, directed and produced. This year we celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary. Coincidentally, Kubrick took inspiration from a project Gerald Fried worked on. For New York’s World Fair in 1964, Fried composed music for a Cinerama 360º film by Graphic Films, entitled, To the Moon and Beyond. Kubrick saw the film at the Fair and was so impressed by the special effects and accurate depiction of scientifically-based material that he hired Graphic Films as a design consultant for 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was then in pre-production.[4]

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Part of score from “To the Moon and Beyond”, Box 24, Gerald Fried papers, Collection #2883,         American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

To learn more about Gerald Fried and his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, see the Gerald Fried papers at the American Heritage Center.

[1] Robert Nott, “Sunday Spotlight: A 88, Hollywood Composer Gerald Fried Keeps the Songs Coming,” Santa Fe New Mexican, September 3, 2016. Accessed June 7, 2018: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/life/features/sunday-spotlight-at-hollywood-composer-gerald-fried-keeps-the-songs/article_303fffc6-7177-5768-bb37-5aeab7ba3c7b.html

[2] Wikipedia, Short films (1951-1953), s.v. “Stanley Kubrick,” last modified June 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Kubrick#Short_films_(1951%E2%80%931953)

[3] Nott, “Sunday Spotlight”.

[4] Wikipedia, Influences on 2001: A Space Odyssey, s.v. “To the Moon and Beyond,” last modified November 27, 2017,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_the_Moon_and_Beyond#Influences_on_2001:_A_Space_Odyssey

– Submitted by Alexandra Cardin, AHC Processing Unit

Posted in Composers, found in the archive, motion picture history, music, popular culture, science fiction, Stanley Kubrick, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Archives on the Air” Debuts Monday, June 18

The American Heritage Center has been collaborating with Wyoming Public Media to create a new program to highlight aspects of the AHC’s collections using one-minute stories. Some stories are serious, some are fun, but all are intriguing!

Debut of the program, “Archives on the Air,” is Monday, June 18, on Wyoming Public Radio. You’ll have an opportunity three times a day to catch a story.

AHC Assistant Archivist Molly Marcusse is the voice behind the stories.

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AHC Assistant Archivist Molly Marcusse

We’ve been lucky to have story assistance from a stellar group of research assistants: Alex Vernon, London Homer-Wambeam, and Conor McCracken-Flesher.

Vernon

Alex Vernon

London

London Homer-Wambeam

Conor

Conor McCracken-Flesher

In addition to airing the stories, WPR will host them, with images, as podcasts on their website. We’ll let you know when that begins.

The AHC gives a big shout out to WPM’s Micah Schweitzer. He’s been our guiding light and our behind-the-scenes guy at WPM making this program a reality. Thanks Micah!

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Micah Schweizer

Tune in and let us know what you think of the stories you hear!

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Summer Exhibit Series: Businesses in Laramie

The summer exhibit series at the AHC continues to celebrate Laramie’s 150th anniversary with a new theme this week: Businesses in Laramie.

Within weeks of the railroad reaching Laramie, the former “Hell on Wheels” tent town became part of an ever growing and changing landscape as buildings began dotting the landscape. Many of these buildings would come to hold businesses marked by the names of some of Laramie’s most famous residents. These bright new businesses began Laramie’s movement away from its roots as a railroad town towards the business-friendly city it is today.

Many of the city’s most famous residents opened businesses in the current downtown area in the early days of Laramie. Some of these early businesses now only find their names in city records. Sometimes names of their owners are attached to new businesses that have grown out of the ever-changing Laramie landscape. For example, Lovejoy’s Bar and Grill is located at the site of Elmer Lovejoy’s Garage at 101 Grand Avenue.

Businesses like Lovejoy’s Garage, the W. H. Holliday Company, and Root’s Opera House no longer exist in town, but these businesses paved the way for new businesses that are found in Downtown Laramie. Elmer Lovejoy, William Holliday, and Helen Root were famous for their contributions to the city, and their legacy lives on at the AHC.

The AHC holds many collections from the owners of these early businesses, including those of Elmer Lovejoy, the Holliday Family, and Root’s Opera House. Over the next two weeks, the Elmer Lovejoy and Root’s Opera House collections will be highlighted in the exhibit series.

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Home appliance demonstration at W.H. Holliday Company, 1924. Holliday Family papers, Accession #347, Box 42, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

Elmer Lovejoy was a Laramie businessman who ran a general repair shop, Lovejoy Novelty Works, while also being an inventor. He built and drove Laramie’s first steam-driven automobile in 1902. In 1905, he invented an automobile steering gear, and in 1918 and 1921 he patented designs for automatic garage door openers. Lovejoy also operated a dealership for Franklin automobiles. Lovejoy was active in the Laramie Bicycle Club and was an amateur photographer. His collection contains records books for the Laramie Cycling Club, motion picture film depicting University of Wyoming homecoming parades and commencements, records for his general repair shop, and patents for his automatic door openers.

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Elmer Lovejoy’s patent for automatic door opener, 1918. Elmer Lovejoy papers, Accession #176, Box 1, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

 

Root’s Opera House was operated by Helen “Sissy” Root and her brother-in-law Chauncey Root. From 1894 to 1929, the opera house attracted the finest actors, repertory companies, and international singers who performed in popular plays, musical comedies, and concerts. It was the first established theater in Laramie.

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Roots Opera House exterior, 1927. Ludwig-Svenson Collection, Accession #167, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The collection contains a scrapbook holding programs for theatrical shows performed at the opera house between 1906 and 1916. Within the scrapbook are also a few advertisements and tabloids promoting upcoming events.

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Interior display of playbills at Roots Opera House, March 1920. Ludwig-Svenson Collection, Accession #167, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Businesses in Laramie exhibit runs from June 11 to 25. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room. Reading Room hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Monday and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

For more details about Laramie’s 150th anniversary celebration, see http://visitlaramie.org/laramie150. Celebratory events are planned all summer and into the fall.

Laramie's 150th

– Post submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

Posted in announcements, Current events, exhibits, found in the archive, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Local history, Uncategorized, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment