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Education

Carrie Burton Overton, First African-American Female Student at UW

Carrie Burton Overton, the first female African-American student at the University of Wyoming, triumphed over poverty and race prejudice in the course of her long life. After training as a stenographer at UW, she earned music diplomas from Howard University and the Juilliard School and, later, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. 

The University of Wyoming Textbook Controversy, 1947-48

After World War II, the University of Wyoming was bursting with returning veterans just as the nation, nervous about Communist expansion worldwide, was sliding into the Cold War. UW trustees called for the investigation of textbooks in use on campus to determine if they were “subversive or un-American.” The faculty overwhelmingly resisted the move, and both sides reached a compromise guaranteeing academic freedom in the future.

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Encyclopedia | Scientist, scholar and poet June Etta Downey, an internationally recognized expert in personality testing, was longtime head of the University of Wyoming psychology department. She published seven books and scores of articles, and served on the UW faculty for 34 years before her death in 1932. 
Encyclopedia | Carrie Burton Overton, the first female African-American student at the University of Wyoming, triumphed over poverty and race prejudice in the course of her long life. After training as a stenographer at UW, she earned music diplomas from Howard University and the Juilliard School and, later, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University. 
Encyclopedia | A fountain and a mural on the University of Wyoming campus memorialize events surrounding the 1922 death of UW student Lowell O’Bryan, who died after being bucked off a horse while preparing a “cowboy welcome” for incoming UW President Arthur Crane.
Oral Histories | Oleta Thomas often visited the Heart Mountain relocation camp as a teenager during World War II, when her father had a job there. In this 2012 interview she remembers those times and later ones as a home ec teacher in 1950s Cody and a massage therapist in Casper since the 1980s.                    
Encyclopedia | Sisters Gertrude and Laura Huntington, the first women newspaper owners in Wyoming, bought the Platte Valley Lyre in Saratoga, Wyo., in 1890 and ran it for 12 years, competing all the while with the Saratoga Sun to inform and entertain their readers. Both women later led long professional careers in Carbon County.
Encyclopedia | Cheyenne schoolteacher Harriett Elizabeth “Liz” Byrd, Wyoming’s first black woman legislator, served in the Wyoming House and Senate from 1981-92. She concentrated on social justice issues, and nine times sponsored a bill to make Martin Luther King day a state holiday before it was finally adopted in 1990.
Encyclopedia | Civil engineer, librarian, athlete, professor and historian, Grace Hebard gained early power at the University of Wyoming, serving on its board of trustees and later its faculty over a 40-year career. Though many scholars now question her scholarship, she remains best known for her books on Wyoming’s past. 
Oral Histories | Charlotte Babcock, Casper College class of 1949, shares memories of her life—including stints as schoolteacher, flower-shop owner, book author and community-minded volunteer—with student interviewer Nichole Simoneaux in this March 2012 interview conducted at the college. 

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