The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Expeditions and explorations

Expeditions and explorations

September 2018

John Muir’s Yellowstone sojourn

In 1885, long before he was known as the Father of the National Park System, naturalist John Muir first visited Yellowstone. The sojourn matured him as a writer and thinker, gradually articulating the idea that nature was worth protecting not merely for its resources—but for its holistic self.  Learn more in John Clayton’s article “John Muir in Yellowstone” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/john-muir-yellowstone.

A 1913 expedition for Indian citizenship 

In 1913, department store tycoon Rodman Wanamaker and photographer Joseph Dixon hatched the idea of a statue of an American Indian in New York harbor higher than the Statue of Liberty—as a memorial to what they saw as a “vanishing race.” Dixon subsequently toured and photographed 89 Indian reservations—including Wyoming’s Shoshone Reservation—leaving a valuable record. Read more in Johanna Wickman’s “Touring the Reservations: the 1913 American Indian Citizenship Expedition” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/touring-reservations-1913-american-indian-citizenship-expedition.

Mitchell’s Wind River passion

Mountaineer Finis Mitchell shared his love of the Wind Rivers through postcards, public talks and a famed, hip-pocket hiking guide. He ran a fishing camp, worked on the railroad, stocked mountain lakes with fingerling trout and served in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Mitchell Peak was named in his honor. To learn more, read Rebecca Hein’s article “Finis Mitchell, Mountaineer,” at https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/finis-mitchell-mountaineer.

Great new toolkits for teachers: The Great War

WSHS President Doug Cubbison, a military veteran and formerly the director of Wyoming’s Veteran’s Memorial Museum in Casper together with independent historian Johanna Wickman, created 8 digital toolkits to help students learn more about World War I. These lessons delve into topics ranging from The Home Front, a doughboy’s experiences, women in WWI, and the contributions of black Americans and American Indians. The cost of war and Wyoming as a patriotic state are also explored in-depth. Various lessons are aimed at students from the elementary grades through high school. Find these new toolkits linked from Area 7: The U.S. During the First World War on the WyoHistory.org Education page at https://www.wyohistory.org/education

Timely Books!

Sudden Impact: A Survey of Wyoming’s Aviation Fatalities 1919-1996, by Steven J. Wolff, 353 pages, 2018. Hercules Books, Amarillo, Texas. Trade paper, $35 (includes postage and handling). This book, written by Wyoming State Historical Society member Steven Wolff, details crashes of aircraft throughout Wyoming and includes accident investigation findings, cockpit voice recorder transcripts, aeronautical sectional maps and photographs of various aircraft, including de Havilland DH-4, Consolidated B-24, Boeing B-247 and Boeing B-720.
The 23 accidents discussed begin with the state’s first aviation fatality, that of Lt. Edwin Wales, who died Oct. 9, 1919, during the military’s First Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test. He crashed a de Havilland DH-4—a two-seat biplane—south of Elk Mountain. Also included is the story of ill-fated United Air Lines Flight 409, a Douglas C-54B that crashed into Medicine Bow Peak on Oct. 6, 1955. All 66 on board perished. The flight, which sadly became “America’s worst civil air disaster” to that time, was headed from New York to San Francisco, but encountered severe weather and reduced visibility near Medicine Bow Peak. A helpful glossary of aviation terms is included. Books can be ordered directly from the author by sending check or money order for $35 payable to Steven Wolff, 1222 Liberty Drive, Lexington, NE 68850. 

Calendar Events!

Wyoming State Historical Society annual meeting, Sept. 7-9, 2018
The WSHS 65th annual meeting will be held in Douglas, Wyo., on Sept. 7-9, 2018, hosted by the Converse County Historical Society. In addition to the membership meeting, events include treks and tours, workshops, awards luncheon. For more information contact Heidi McCullough at (307) 359-0608 or via e-mail at heidiho2202@yahoo.com.

Wyoming Archaeology Awareness Month
Celebration of archaeology during September, which Gov. Matt Mead proclaimed Wyoming Archaeology Awareness (WAAM) month, includes a fair, a special lecture by a prominent archaeologist, and the release of this year’s poster, the “centerpiece” of the month’s festivities, according to a press release from the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office.

Wyoming Archaeology Fair, Sept. 8, 2018
The Archaeology Fair will be held at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site in Laramie on Sept. 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. 

According to the press release, “The fair will feature Michael “Badhand” Terry, Plains Indian Historian/Lecturer/Author; the Wind River Dancers who will perform a variety of American Indian dance styles; Willie LeClair, Native American storyteller; and David Osmundsen demonstrating traditional 19th century blacksmithing.” Hands-on activities include atlatl throwing, pottery making and flint knapping. For more information, contact Judy Wolf at (307) 766-5366 or via email at judy.wolf@wyo.gov.

“Frozen in Time” Poster
This year’s poster, “Frozen in Time,” highlights research being conducted on ice patch archaeology in Wyoming. The poster is distributed statewide, nationally, and internationally to more than 5,000 people and organizations to commemorate Wyoming Archaeology Awareness Month.

The poster is available free of charge, and may be picked up at the State Historic Preservation Office, Barrett Building, 2301 Central Avenue in Cheyenne, or in Laramie in the Anthropology Building located at 12th and Lewis, Room 312. 

The posters are also available via mail with a $12 charge to cover mailing costs. Limit one poster per person. Send your request along with a check or money order payable to “Wyoming Archaeology Month” and your name and mailing address to: Judy Wolf, State Historic Preservation Office, Wyoming Archaeology Month, Dept. 3431, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071.

“Native American Origins” Lecture
Dr. Stuart Fiedel, a senior archaeologist at Louis Berger Group, will present the 20th Annual George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology and WAAM sponsored lecture. The talk will take place in Laramie at the University of Wyoming Ed Auditorium, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, at 4 p.m. Fiedel’s topic is “Native American Origins: Reconciling the Evidence of Ancient Genomes and Archaeology.” A reception will follow in the Department of Anthropology foyer.
For more information, contact Judy Wolf at (307) 766-5366 or via email at judy.wolf@wyo.gov.