Looking at Asia through Art and Archives

The University of Wyoming Art Museum has (for a few more days) a wonderful exhibition of Cyrus Baldridge’s work during his travels in China.  The exhibit is a lot like a visual travel diary, and well worth seeing.  The exhibit closes on Saturday, August 2nd, so you only have a little more time to check it out!

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If you’d like to continue your study of how Americans have historically viewed Asia, you might be interested in many of the collections that are among the American Heritage Center’s holdings. We have a number of collections that tell the stories of Americans encountering new cultures, often for the first time.

A few of these include the Mary Hoyt Williams Crozier journal, which gives a fascinating look at one American’s adventure in Japan and China in the early 1920s, as well as the Dorothy Eidlitz papers, which shed light on the life of an American society woman in Kobe, Japan.  We also have the papers of Bailey Willis, a geologist who worked extensively in Asia. His collection contains lantern slides and photograph albums of travels in China, Sumatra, Java, India, Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Egypt. There are also maps, artwork, and souvenirs from Willis’s 1903-1904 trip through China.  One of the particular feathers in our cap is the Irene Kuhn papers; Kuhn was one of the first women foreign correspondents to work in China. The China Press was her employer in the early 1920s and she documented the experience with a considerable number of photographs.  It’s a fascinating look at Chinese culture and customs between the world wars.

Chinese street scene, ca. mid-1920s, Irene Kuhn Papers, Collection #8536, Box 26, Folder 6. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Chinese street scene, ca. mid-1920s, Irene Kuhn Papers, Collection #8536, Box 26, Folder 6. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Many of the collections currently in the AHC’s holdings related to Asia overlap with other collecting areas, most notably with the areas of military history and journalism. Many of the individuals who spent time in Asian nations did so during times of global conflict—World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam wars, for example. Many of these individuals served as soldiers, sailors, and pilots, as well as journalists assigned to foreign correspondent positions. Other collections share topical areas with the AHC’s focus on politics, as several personal papers were donated by individuals who served in the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Treasury Department, and various branches of the U.S. Foreign Service in consulates and embassies around the world. Also represented heavily are collections that document Americans’ experiences as energy, mining, or infrastructure consultants for foreign firms, universities, or international affiliates of U.S. companies. In addition, mountaineers are fairly well represented in our existing holdings, as certain mountainous regions of Asia include popular climbing peaks, such as Mr. Everest and K2.

So, make sure to find time to take in the UW Art Museum’s exhibit before Saturday! And if you’d like to examine additional historical perspectives on Asia, the AHC’s collections are always open.  Do come and see us sometime!

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Celebrate summer cycling with Elmer Lovejoy!

Summer seems to be the season for multi-day bicycle tours–each state seems to have its own unique ride–RAGBRAI in Iowa, Ride the Rockies in Colorado, the Tour de Wyoming, and of course, internationally speaking, there’s the mother of them all, the Tour de France.  With so many bicycle events taking place this summer, we thought it would be fun to share some local bicycling history with you from the Elmer Lovejoy papers.

Here's one way to make the miles go by faster--on a bicycle built for two! Elmer Lovejoy (left) with a tandem bicycle he built in 1893. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 21, Negative Number 1335. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Here’s one way to make the miles go by faster–on a bicycle built for two! Elmer Lovejoy (left) with a tandem bicycle he built in 1893. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 21, Negative Number 1335. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Elmer Floyd Lovejoy was a Laramie, Wyoming, businessman and inventor. He came to Laramie in 1883 for health reasons and soon developed an interest in mechanics. Lovejoy was active in the Laramie Bicycle Club and was an amateur photographer.

Laramie Bicycle Club members at the corner of 3rd and Ivinson in Laramie. They look as if they could be rolling into town for a rest stop! Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 20.

Laramie Bicycle Club members at the corner of 3rd and Ivinson in Laramie. They look as if they could be rolling into town for a rest stop! Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 20.  American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

A little background on Lovejoy might be helpful here, too.  He opened a general repair shop, Lovejoy Novelty Works, at 412 S. 2nd St. in 1893, and a few years later he built a steam-powered automobile incorporating design innovations of his own. In 1902, he built and drove Laramie’s first steam-driven automobile. 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.

The first page of the Laramie Bicycle Club's rule book.  Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 3.  American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The first page of the Laramie Bicycle Club’s rule book. The rules begin by stating, “The orgranization of the club having been affected for the purpose of thereby obtaining increased facilities for, and enjoyment in the pursuit of Bicycling as a manly and healthful pastime” before continuing on to spell out the specific regulations that governed the group. Elmer F. Lovejoy Papers, Collection #176, Box 1, Folder 3. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

 Hope you have enjoyed this brief dip into cycling history in the Laramie area.  (Also, we are entirely confident that your bicycle seats are much more comfortable than the antiques in these photos!)  We wish you happy riding this summer!

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Wyoming Represents at National History Day!

Each year, a group of Wyoming students competes at the regional and state levels of National History Day for the privilege of continuing on to compete at the national level.  And each year, Wyoming performs exceptionally well at the national contest.  This year, Wyoming continued the tradition of stellar projects. Here are some photos of the students that placed in the top ten for their divisions.  Wonderful job, everyone!

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The three Lander students who won the junior and senior outstanding state awards. Sydney Polson and Sadie Thatch won for their senior group documentary “A Question of Loyalty, Civil Rights and Responsibilities: Heart Mountain Draft Resisters,” and Li Platz won for her junior paper “The One-Child Policy: A Violation of Human Rights or a National Responsibility?” Li place fourth in her category and Sadie and Sydney placed seventh in their category.

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London Homer-Wambeam minutes after he was awarded third place for his video documentary, “The Hollywood Production Code: A Right to Express, A Responsibility to Censor.”

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London talking to his judges during the competition.

If you are a teacher or student who would like to compete in next year’s National History Day contest, you can learn more about getting involved.  Congratulations to all of the Wyoming students who participated this year–it was another strong showing by our state’s students!

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A Virtual 4th of July Parade!

We at the American Heritage Center wish everyone a very happy Fourth of July! To get us in the spirit of celebrating, we present you with a parade–from 1928!  These photographs show some of the floats in Laramie’s July 4th parade and were all taken by the Ludwig Svenson studio in Laramie. So, enjoy this parade for a Throwback Thursday and set your sights to celebrating tomorrow!

ah301782 ah301783 (2) ah301789 ah303184 ah301781We wish you a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!

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Sports, Recreation, and Leisure

Sports, recreation, and leisure are so entwined with life in American and the human experience itself, it should not be surprising that many of the collections held at the American Heritage Center contain at least some information related to these endeavors.

Though Sports, Recreation, and Leisure represent one of the center’s smaller collecting areas, the AHC holds about 500 collections that contain significant amounts of material related to these topics. Our main areas of focus include mountaineering, rodeo, dude ranching, national parks recreation, adventure travel and sports writers, and, not surprisingly, University of Wyoming athletics.

By far the most popular sport-related interest is with the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Records. Fans, former athletes and their families, sports writers and filmmakers often request copies of game footage especially for memorable games such as the 2007 WNIT Championship where the women’s basketball team knocked off Wisconsin, and the football team’s 1958 victory over Hardin Simmons in the Sun Bowl and their 1968 Sugar Bowl appearance against LSU. The collection contains films dating back to the 1930s. Let’s not forget the men’s basketball team’s crowning as national champions in 1943!—in fact, recently two independent documentary film teams have visited the AHC for prospective programs on this amazing feat.  Indeed, the most popular aspect of UW sports, recently, has been Kenny Sailors, the inventor of the jump shot and member of the 1943 championship team.  The AHC is pleased to announce that recently 90 films from the University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Records were digitized and are now available online.

Film still of 1943 NCAA National Basketball Championship Team (University of Wyoming vs. St. John’s). University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Records, #515001, Boxes 266-267.

Film still of 1943 NCAA National Basketball Championship Team (University of Wyoming vs. St. John’s). University of Wyoming Intercollegiate Athletics Records, #515001, Boxes 266-267.

UW sports material can be found in a variety of contexts.  Milward Simpson’s collection of papers consists of more than 600 boxes of material mostly related to his political career. However, amidst all of those political files, is a box containing a small amount of material related to his time as a three-sport athlete at the University of Wyoming.

For those patrons who prefer a bit more dirt and mud, the AHC holds numerous prominent rodeo collections including Abe Morris, a UW African-American student who was one of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s (PRCA) premier bull riders in the 1980s and 1990s, and the J.S. Palen Collection that contains rodeo history of numerous western rodeos including Cheyenne Frontier Days– posters, photos, correspondence, scrapbooks, publications, schedules, and much more—from the 1890s to the 21st century.

Cheyenne Frontier Days parade, early 20th century.  J.S. Palen papers, #10472, Box 24, Folder 1. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.

Cheyenne Frontier Days parade, early 20th century. J.S. Palen papers, #10472, Box 24, Folder 1. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.

For those who wish for a bit more peace and quiet, the many dude ranch collections and national park collections contain material to help slow the soul. Dude Ranch holdings range from individual ranches including Eatons’ Ranch, often referred to as the nation’s first dude ranch, located in the Big Horn Mountains near Sheridan as well as organizational records including the Dude Ranchers Association Collection. National Park collections range from the personal collections of park rangers like Karl Allan who worked in numerous Western parks including Yellowstone and Grand Teton, to park concessioners like Howard Hays who operated camps sites and a stagecoach line in Yellowstone.

If one wishes to venture beyond the comfort of the dude ranch nestled in the foothills and aspires to reach lofty heights, the AHC holds more than 50 mountaineering-related collections.  Some climbing documentation is found in unsuspected places. Charles Coutant was a Cheyenne newspaper editor and author of an 1899 history of Wyoming. His small collection of papers contains five letters by Nathaniel P. Langford to Coutant regarding Langford’s exploration of the Teton and Yellowstone areas in 1870, including Langford’s ascent of the Grant Teton. Much more prominent is a collection from Betsy (Cowles) Partridge who was among the earliest women and Americans to attempt Mount Everest in 1950. Her collection includes diaries and photo albums of her many climbing expeditions. In the past few years a biography of her was published, as well as a few articles.

For those who enjoy learning more about sports and outdoor recreation from reading about it in the comfort of the recliner, the AHC has numerous collections from writers including Warren Page who was an editor of Field & Stream Magazine as well as a world-class big-game hunter, and Murray Olderman who was a prolific sports writer including writing scripts for ABC Sports Radio. The Center holds numerous travel and adventure writers’ paper including Buddy Mays whose writing ranged from whitewater rafting adventures to sight-seeing in the Desert Southwest.

Barnstorming?  We have at least half a dozen collections documenting this sport, including the papers of Roscoe Turner, who liked to perform stunts with his pet lion (yes, lion) accompanying him in the plane.  We also have the collection of Roger Williams, now essentially unknown, but a pilot in both world wars.  Roger Quincy Williams (1894-1976) became a barnstormer and stunt flyer during the 1920s. In 1929 he became the second flyer to cross the Atlantic, flying from New York to Rome.

Roscoe Turner and Gilmore the Lion sitting on plane. Roscoe Turner papers, #5267, Box 113, Folder 7. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.

Roscoe Turner and Gilmore the Lion sitting on plane. Roscoe Turner papers, #5267, Box 113, Folder 7. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center.

We’ll close with materials relating to sports journalists, from both print and broadcast venues.  Take, for instance, Barbara J. Brown who was a journalist who covered the American rodeo circuit. She had articles in such periodicals as World of Rodeo, Pro Rodeo Sports News, Rodeo Times, Western Sportsman, Hoof and Horn, and Western Horseman. Or take Henry E. Bradshaw (d. 1981), an outdoor journalist who, throughout his long career, contributed to Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, and Sports Afield among other publications. Bradshaw, along with his wife, Vera Foss Bradshaw, wrote more than 3,000 outdoor and travel articles.  We also hold the papers of legendary sports television broadcaster Heywood Hale Broun, as well as collections by radio sports commentators and even illustrators.

When it comes to the history of sports, recreation, and leisure, the American Heritage Center holds something for everybody.

 -Mark Green, Director and John Waggener, Reference Archivist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Athletics, aviation history, Journalism, Recreation, Sports and Recreation, University of Wyoming history | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Author C.J. Box to Launch Summer Book Tour for “Shots Fired”

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Please join us at the American Heritage Center for the first stop on C.J. Box’s Shots Fired book tour!

 

 

 

 

 

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How does the AHC use donations?

Watch this video message from AHC director Mark Greene to find out how monetary gifts are used. You’ll find more information about giving to the AHC located here, should you be interested.

Posted in behind the scenes, Centennial Complex, Valentine's Day | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment