The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Spanish Influenza and an American Novelist

Spanish Influenza and an American Novelist

October 2018

Effects of the 1918 flu 

In 1918 the deadly flu epidemic sweeping the world swept Wyoming as well. In just a few months, 780 people died statewide, victims of the so-called Spanish flu. Schools, churches and theatres shut down, towns were quarantined and many businesses closed or severely limited their trade. Learn more in University of Wyoming History Professor Emeritus Phil Roberts’ 
article “The 1918 Flu: A Worldwide Epidemic Sweeps Wyoming.” 

Hemingway’s times in Wyoming

In the life of American novelist Ernest Hemingway, scenes of hunting, a wedding, miscarriage, injuries and physical degeneration all found Wyoming settings. Friendships grew, he fished with his sons and he wrote much of his best work here—with great energy, productivity, and vividness. Read more in Jamie Egolf and Chavawn Kelley’s article “Ernest Hemingway in Wyoming.” 

New Wyoming History Day page

The national 2019 History Day competition is slated for June 9-13, 2019, at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. This year’s theme is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” On the state level, Wyoming’s History Day competition will be held April 15, 2019, at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and the National History Day competition.
Find more information--including links to sample Triumph-and-Tragedy topics from Wyoming history, regional contest dates and more—on WyoHistory.org’s new Wyoming History Day page.

Calendar Events!

Central Wyoming History Day Contest Changed to December 2018
Natrona County School District officials have announced that regional, central Wyoming History Day contest will be held in December rather than March as in previous years. Natrona County School District No. 1 Administrative Specialist Ruth Putnam hopes the earlier date will prompt more students to enter the competition. The contest is scheduled for Dec. 15, 2018, at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. If you are interested in volunteering as a judge contact Putnam as soon as possible at (307) 253-5462 or via email at ruth120@mynscd.org.

Timely Books!

The Man in the Arena: The Life and Times of U.S. Senator Gale McGee, by Rodger McDaniel, 416 pages, 2018. Potomac Books, an imprint of the University of Nebraska Press. Hardcover, $36.95. McDaniel, a pastor and former Wyoming state senator, chronicles the career and achievements of McGee, a liberal who won office in conservative Wyoming and served from 1958-1977 under Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Earlier, McGee taught history at the University of Wyoming, beginning in 1946.
An untenured history professor during the UW textbook controversy of 1947, McGee served on the faculty committee that disputed the trustees’ concerns that social science textbooks being used were “subversive.” An investigation exonerated the faculty.
Partly because of the leadership McGee exhibited throughout the conflict, the editor of the Laramie Republican Boomerang publicly urged McGee to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1950. McGee decided not to run that year, but his political ambitions had been ignited. He became a well-known speaker and in the mid-1950s assisted Wyoming’s U.S. Sen. Joseph O’Mahoney as research counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position that allowed him to network and learn national politics firsthand. 
McDaniel’s book combines the story of McGee’s political rise and fall with more personal details. The book also contains a number of fascinating photographs, including one of McGee hunting pheasants near Huntley, Wyo. Books are available from the publisher by calling (402) 472-3581 or visiting https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu, or at bookstores. 
The Border War: The Bronze Boot Rivalry Between Colorado State and Wyoming, Ryan Thorburn and Robert Gagliardi, Burning Daylight Press, Boulder, Colo., 163 pages, 2018. Trade paper, $22.00. Thorburn and Gagliardi, sports journalists who met while attending the University of Wyoming, pack this book about “the football feud” between the two universities—dating from 1899--with numerous statistics, details and photographs. They include the stories behind many of the nail-biter games and feature information about many of the players and coaches. They also discuss the history of the coveted Bronze Boot trophy. Books are available at bookstores and online at amazon.com. Thorburn’s articles about Olympic wrestler Rulon Gardner and basketball great Kenny Sailors have also appeared on WyoHistory.org.