Please contact Betty Jo Brenner for information about bringing one of these speakers to your event or location.

Authors

Heeere's Dusty: Life in the TV and Newspaper World

presented by Dusty Saunders

Well known media personality, Dusty Saunders, will talk about his recent publication and memoir titledHeeere"s Dusty:  Life in the TV and Newspaper World. His presentation will provide an all-inclusive look at the world of media, past, present and future, including newspapers, television, radio cable and of course, the Internet.

His work as a journalist, from 1953 to 2009, was in an era when the media was constantly changing and evolving.  Dusty was part of that change and his presentation is full of stories about Denver media personalities, national media personalities and many personal radio experiences.  In addition to a trip down "memory lane", Dusty will discuss the direction of how ideas are exchanged and the impact of the Internet on that direction.

Dusty Saunders is a native Denverite and veteran journalist, currently writing a Monday column in the Denver Post about sports media.  Mr. Saunders worked at the Rocky Mountain News for 54 years, starting as a copy boy, then a police reporter, city hall reporter, feature editor, and finally covering the broadcasting beat as critic and columnist for more than 40 years.

In 1993, Saunders was named Colorado Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists.  He was a founding member and past president of the Television Critics Association, a national organization made up of critics and columnists from major newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Canada.  He is a former president of the Denver Press Club, and a member of the club's Hall of Fame.

A graduate of the University of Colorado Journalism School, Saunders is a recipient of the school's Outstanding Alumni Award.

Heroes, Villains, Dames & Disasters: 150 Years of Front-Page Stories from he Rocky Mountain News

presented by Michael Madigan

The Rocky Mountain News was Colorado's oldest newspaper, and its original stories--from the first edition in 1859 to its very last edition in 2009--enabled audiences to experience the great events, inspiring characters, slices of daily life and stylistic shifts in writing that shaped our heritage.

Madigan's book and presentation make mention of many charactes from Colorado's past - famous and flawed alike.  William Newton Byers.  Colonel John Chivington.  Alferd Packer.  Margaret "Molly" Brown.  Jack Dempsey.  Bay Doe Tabor.  Emily Griffith.  Molly Mayfield.  Wellington Webb.  JonBenet Ramsey.  Gene Amole, to name a few.  The events they took part in, the legacies they left behind, the words they wrote, are all a part of who we are today.

Suggested Reading

Heroes, Villains, Dames & Disasters: 150 Years of Front-Page Stories from the Rocky Mountain News by Michael Madigan, MadIdeas LLC, 2009

Rocky Mountain News 1859 - 2009, original news clippings, pages, photographs on microfilm, Denver Public Library Western History Collection

Colorado: A History of the Centennial State by Carl Abbott, Stephen J. Leonard, and Thomas J. Noel, University Pressof Colorado, 2005

 

Chautauquans

Clara Barton

Presented by Susan Marie Frontczak

Hear Clara's tribute to the soldiers who serve in our armed forces and their families.  Find out how she worked her way through government red tape both to care for the wounded on the Civil War battlefield and years later to convince the United States government to bring the Red Cross to America.  Her wit, fortitude under fire, and dedication to the cause of humanity stand as a role model for all time.

Susan Marie Frontczak has learned something special from each of her five characters, who have taken her to 36 of the United States and abroad for well over 600 performances.  Clara Barton has given her a welcome chance to dive into 19th century America, and to look at care and compassion on a far-reaching scale.  For years prior to her Chautauqua work, as a storyteller Susan Marie brought history and literature to life and honed personal experience into tales worth telling again and again. Barton, too, was a colorful storyteller of her own life, as evidenced by the vast stores of primary documents available through the Library of Congress, making for rich mining in bringing her story to life on the Chautauqua stage.

Suggested Reading

* The Story of My Childhood by Clara Barton.  Baker & Taylor Company, 1907.
* A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War by Steven B. Oates.  The Free Press, 1994.
* Clara Barton, Professional Angel by Elizabeth Brown Pryor.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987

Katharine Lee Bates

Presented by Sue Breeze

Born in Falmouth, Massachusetts in 1859, Katharine Lee Bates graduated from Wellesley College and went on to become head of its English Literature Department.  In 1893 she arrived in Colorado Springs to spend the summer lecturing at Colorado College and made the infamous excursion to the top of Pikes Peak.  The view inspired her to write the poem that was later set to music and titled, "America the Beautiful."

During her lifetime, writing was a continuing priority.  Her works include children's stories, poetry, plays, books of verse, textbooks, and travel books based on her three sabbatical years in Europe and the Middle East.

Katharine's legacy to us is her ability to find inspiration in the world around us, her belief in the best of people and her courage to take risks in the fight against the injustices of the world.  She was a woman of her times and for all times.

Sue Breeze holds a degree from the Goodman Theatre School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago and performs in film, television, corporate events, and repertory theater.  Having ten years of experience as a drama teacher for all age groups at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, she currently provides Artist in Residence programs to develop self-expression.  Sue is also a Personal Presentation and Intuition Coach and facilitates workshops and one-on-one coaching.  She portrays Katharine Lee Bates with a reminder to "renew our faith in America" and inspires audience to treasure their memories of our country and to live their dreams.

Suggested Reading

* Dream and Deed: The Story of Katharine Lee Bates by Dorothy Burgess.  The University of Oklahoma Press, 1952.
* America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song by Lynn Sherr. Public Affairs, a member of the Perseus Book Group, Cambridge, MA, 2001
* Katharine Lee Battes, Girl Poet by Elisabeth P. Myers. Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1961

L. Frank Baum

Performed by David Skipper

Meet America's original storyteller and the creative, delightful Royal Historian of Oz, Lyman Frank Baum. Learn how Dorothy and her enchanting friends were created into one of the most beloved canon's in children's literature in the entertaining "Royal Historian of Oz."  You may expect some tall tales.

David Skipper is a seasoned storyteller and actor, having over fifteen years of theatrical performance experience. He has utilized his Celtic, Hispanic and Native American ancestry to enhance his storytelling gifts throughout the years. Skipper is a former writer for "The Scottish-American" and "Scottish Banner" newspapers. He writes children's fantasy and horror for his own amusement. He received his M.A. in communication arts from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Suggested Reading

*  The Annotated Wizard of Oz. Edited by Michael Patrick Hearn.  W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2000
* Oz and Beyond: The Fantasy World of L. Frank Baum.
By Michael O. Riley.  University Press of Kansas, 1997
* Our Landlady.  Edited by Nancy Tystad Koupal.  University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

Dr. Rose Kidd Beere

presented by Rebecca Hunt

Dr. Rose Kidd Beere spent her childhood on western military posts where her father commanded the Tenth Cavalry, one of the most significant Black units on the frontier. Widowed at a young age, with three young sons, Rose put herself through the Northwestern University Women's Medical College. Her first practice, in Durango, brought her to Colorado. Her next move, to Denver, saw her running the new Home for Dependent and Neglected Children. Perhaps her most important adventure sent her to the Philippines in 1898 to minister to Colorado's troops in the Spanish American War. Her spirit and drive made her stay memorable. The remainder of her life she devoted to public medicine, including serving as the first woman superintendent of Denver General Hospital. Dr. Rose Kidd Beere exemplifies the best of the western woman's grit and ability to get things done.

A native of Wyoming, Rebecca Hunt has been both a museum curator and a historian studying immigrants, community, and women. Her Ph.D., from CU Boulder, is in social history of the American West. She teaches at Metropolitan State College of Denver and is the archivist at Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center. She began her portrayal of pioneer Colorado doctor, Rose Kidd Beere in 1999.

Suggested Reading

* Colorado: A History of the Centennial State by Stephen Leonard and David McComb. University Press of Colorado, 1982.
* Rocky Mountain Medicine: Doctors, Drugs, and Disease by Robert Shikes. Johnson Books, 1986.
* Medicine Women: The Story of Early American Women Doctors by Cathy Luchetti. Antelope Island Press, 1982.

Irene Castle

presented by Susan Marie Frontczak

Vernon and Irene Castle, were responsible, more than any other couple, for the rage in social and ballroom dancing that swept across America in the years leading up to the first world war. They took a dance form frowned upon by respectable society as unseemly, and transformed it with their grace and style into a most elegant and fashionable hobby for rich and poor alike, for old and young.. The Castles enchanted the public because here was a married couple who showed affection to one another in public! In these years before even the silent film industry had taken hold, the Castles laid the groundwork for public fascination with private romance. The story of Vernon and Irene Castle highlights three hallmarks of the American Spirit: entrepreneurial drive, artistic expression, and setting trends in fashion. "Their brief, almost incandescent career stands as a metaphor of an entire glittering, fragile world soon to be shattered by the horror of world war."1

Susan Marie Frontczak began studying Vintage Dance in 1990. She has taught at Vintage Dance events across the country, including the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri, Cincinnati Dance Week, and regular Sunday afternoon Tea Dances in Denver and Boulder. She has found that Irene Castle's story not only amuses and inspires, but opened a deeper understanding of the roots of American social dance.

Suggested Reading

* Castles in the Air by Irene Castle. Doubleday & Co., NY. 1958. Autobiography.
* My Husband by Irene Castle. Scribner, NY. 1919.
* Modern Dancing by Vernon Castle. 1914. Instructions on how to dance all the modern dances, with notes on style.
* Vernon and Irene Castle's Ragtime Revolution by Eve Golden. University Press of Kentucky, 2007.
* Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 by Judy Blake. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999

Geoffrey Chaucer

presented by Thomas Napierkowski

Geoffrey Chaucer was a remarkable man. He was in the personal service of three kings of England, for whom his duties ranged from foreign missions of a diplomatic nature to those of the controller of customs for the port of London. More importantly, in the course of his busy life, Chaucer found time to write; and in those moments stolen from his official career, he developed into the consummate poet of the English Middle Ages and one of the two or three best poets of the language. What's more, he remains today, after 600 years, the most enjoyable and approachable of the great English poets.

During his life and the century following his death, Chaucer was acknowledged as the father of English poetry and revered as "a great rhetorician, philosopher-poet and master of the study of ethics." Today, he is additionally admired for his brilliant character portraits (including his self-portrait), his sympathetic insights into the drama of human life, the remarkable variety of his literary works and his unmatched mastery of irony.

Thomas Napierkowski has taught for almost 30 years in the Department of English at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, specializing in medieval literature, with particular emphasis on the works of Chaucer and of the fifteenth century. He has a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Napierkowski has also worked and published in the fields of minority American literature and Slavic literature.

Suggested Reading

* The Riverside Chaucer by Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson. Houghton Mifflin, 1987.
* The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Norton & Company, 1989.
* The Portable Chaucer ed. Theodore Morrison. Viking Press, 1977.

Marie Curie

presented by Susan Marie Frontczak

Arguably the most famous woman scientist, Madame Marie Curie (1867-1934) changed the world in which we live through her discovery of radium and radioactivity. Marie Curie, or Manya, as she was affectionately called, was the first woman to receive a doctorate in the sciences in Europe; the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize; the first woman to teach at the the University of Paris; and the first person to receive a second Nobel Prize. Through collaboration with the medical community, the Curies discovered and established the first successful radiation treatments of cancer. Furthermore, by virtue of her own passion and perseverance, Marie Curie opened the doors of science to women world wide.

But Marie Curie had to conquer significant obstacles before even making it into the laboratory. From the political oppression of her childhood, to financial straits, to the tragedy that forced her into single motherhood as well as further world prominence, Manya's story as scientist, mother, and teacher reveals a compelling journey.

Susan Marie Frontczak began representing as Marie Curie in 2001.  She has since given over 350 presentations as Marie Curie at universities, conferences, schools, libraries, and theaters across 31 of the United States and nine countries abroad.  In portraying Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Susan Marie pays homage to their shared Polish heritage. Susan, like Marie, enjoyed school and promotes awareness that academic excellence can lead to outstanding achievement. Marie Curie's perseverance in purifying a grain of radium from a ton of pitchblende, in part, inspired Susan to major in Engineering, in which field she worked for fourteen years before pursuing full time writing and presenting in 1994.

Suggested Reading

* Madame Curie: A Biography by Eve Curie. Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937.
* Marie Curie, A Life by Susan Quinn. Simon & Schuster, 1995.
* Marie Curie and the Science of Radioactivity by Naomi Pasachoff. Oxford University Press, 1996.

Walt Disney

Presented by David Skipper

Walt Disney was a optimal behaviorist, according to his friend Ray Bradbury. Join Walt as he takes you on a magical and nostalgic journey into the realms of animation, motion picture production, theme park and urban development.  Walt shares life experiences that helped mold him into an optimal behaviorist and shares how a little fortuosity can help make your dreams come true. This program is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Walt Disney Company.

David Skipper is a seasoned storyteller and actor, having over fifteen years of theatrical performance experience. He has utilized his Celtic, Hispanic and Native American ancestry to enhance his storytelling gifts throughout the years. Skipper is a former writer for "The Scottish-American" and "Scottish Banner" newspapers. He writes children's fantasy and horror for his own amusement. He received his M.A. in communication arts from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Suggested Reading

* Walt Disney, An American Original
by Bob Thomas.  Simon and Schuster, NY, 1976, 1994
* Walt Before Mickey
by Timothy S. Susanin.  The University Press of Mississippi, 2011
* The Wisdom of Walt
by Jeff Barnes. Aviva Publishing, Lake Placid, NY  2015
* The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life
by Steven Watts. Houghton Mifflin Company, NY, 1997

Doc Susie

presented by Kathy Naples

Dr. Susan Anderson, or "Doc Susie," is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable figures from Grand County's past. She arrived in Fraser in 1907, at the age of 37, thinking she would die within the year of the tuberculosis she had contracted while nursing patients in Greeley, Colorado. Beloved Doc Susie remained in Fraser, practicing medicine, for nearly 50 years.

She was a graduate of University of Michigan, an "authentic lady physician," licensed in both Colorado and Wyoming. She arrived at a time of tremendous growth and change in Fraser and Tabernash, having to prove herself first in treating an injured horse before the locals would allow her to treat their injuries and illnesses. She went on to treat all types of maladies and injuries suffered in work on the railroad, in the lumber camps, and on the local ranches, and to serve as coroner for the county during the tumultuous days of the construction of the Moffat Tunnel. While many times she doubted the wisdom of her decision to live and practice in Grand County, the community worked hard to make sure she was appreciated and cared for.

Doc Susie's home still stands in Fraser and the Cozens Ranch Museum holds an exhibit of her tools and equipment. Her story is an inspiration to young women who seek a career in the medical fields. There are many in Fraser who still remember this remarkable woman, who lived a full and vital life right up to the age of 90.

Kathy Naples is a librarian by training and avocation, having a lifelong love of the challenge of research. Her history interests include the roles of women and children throughout history, having explored those roles in the many locations where she has lived--Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. Kathy has interpreted a number of the pioneering women of Grand County, Colorado, as a part of the local history interpretive group, Grand County Characters (www.grandcountycharacters.org). These women range from early pioneers, such as Mary York Cozens and Margaret Bourne Crawford, who had to do literally everything for themselves and lived a very circumscribed lifestyle, to some of the more modern women, such as Elizabeth Jones Free and Dr. Susan Anderson, who were allowed to expand their horizons beyond their immediate hearth and home.

Kathy lives in Granby, Colorado, where she is the District Media Specialist for East Grand School District.

Suggested Reading

* Doc Susie: The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies by Virginia Cornell, Manifest Publications, 1991.
* "Of things medical in middle park," Grand County Historical Association Journal. XIV, n. 1. Grand County Historical Assoc., 1989.

Amelia Earhart

presented by Elsa Wolff

Arguably the most famous Aviatrix of her time, Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was much more than a noted pilot. She pushed through social barriers and served as a role model and inspiration to many – both men and women – because of her courage, determination and spirit of adventure. In a time when girls were expected to behave like ladies, Amelia pushed through social expectations even from a young age. Overcoming a family who moved frequently and an alcoholic father, she continued to look for meaning and adventure in her life. Amelia’s life story reveals the developing world view from the turn of the century into the Great Depression, including: the development of the machine age and aviation; the rising role of women in unconventional careers; and the impact of marketing on public image. She became an American hero during a time when there was a national obsession with record setting/breaking as the world was suddenly looking at Americans as trend-setters, whereas for centuries America had been trying to emulate Europe. Amelia spoke out with passion on the issues of women striving for equality in education, career opportunity and wages. A supporter of the nation’s new airline industry, she also helped pave the way for people to look at travel by airplane as a viable and reliable means of transportation.

Storyteller, singer and speaker for over 10 years, Elsa Wolff, who enjoys bring literature to life for children and adults alike, has recently developed the Character of Amelia Earhart for Living History Presentation. Elsa shows the same courage, poise and spirit of adventure as Amelia Earhart and will captivate the audience with her personable portrayal of aviation’s “Queen of the Air”.

Suggested Reading

* Amelia Earhart, 20 Hrs., 40 Min. (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1928)  
* Amelia Earhart, The Fun of It (Chicago, Ill.: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1932) 
* Amelia Earhart, Last Flight (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937)   Compiled GP Putnam
* Soaring Wings by George Putnam, (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1939)
* The Sound of Wings by Mary S. Lovell (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989)

Jonathan Edwards

presented by Jack R. Van Ens

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), the Puritan theologian who has been called the greatest mind produced in America, was also the most inspirational theologian of religious revivals. Edwards spearheaded the Great Awakening of the 1730's and 1740's in the colonies. He was no mean-spirited Elmer Gantry figure, as many assume after reading his fiery sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." He and his works flowed as the fountainhead of a movement from which streamed a new nation, shaped by the contours of Calvinist revivalism. Edwards' story is of great success and great tragedy as he was banished to Indian territory after leading the most influential church in the colonies at Northampton, Massachusetts for over two decades.

Jack R. Van Ens received his Master of Divinity in 1972, his Master of Theology in 1976 and his Doctorate of Ministry in 1984 from the Princeton University/Seminary. He is currently the president and CEO of Creative Growth Associates where he instructs and leads educational, business and religious non-profit groups.

Suggested Reading

* Jonathan Edwards, Religious Traditions and American Culture by Joseph Conforti. University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
* A Jonathan Edwards Reader, ed. John E. Smith. Yale University Press, 1995.
* Jonathan Edwards' Writings: Text, Context, Interpretation ed. Stephen Stein. Indiana University Press, 1996.

Charles Fox Gardiner

presented by John Stansfield

Dr. Charles Fox Gardiner's long life captures the essence-and often the adventure-of practicing medicine in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Colorado, from his early days in Crested Butte, Meeker, and the wild country surrounding them to his long tenure in Colorado Springs, caring for everyone from General Palmer, the city's founder, to its poorest residents, and especially tubercular patients, who flocked to Colorado seeking the "fresh air cure" he advocated.

Storyteller and author John Stansfield began following the tracks of Muir and Mills and exploring the West in 1960 and has never stopped. His book, Writers of the American West: Multicultural Learning Encounters, received a Colorado Authors' League Award and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in 2002. With a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Stansfield has taught elementary grades and now teaches on the adjunct faculty of the University of Colorado--Colorado Springs. The Wilderness Society presented him an Environmental Heroes Award in 2004 for his ongoing work to protect Colorado's wild places.

Suggested Reading

* Heroes Without Glory: Some Goodmen of the Old West by Jack Schaefer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.,1965.
* The Business of Getting Well by Marshall Sprague. New York: Thomas Y.Crowell, 1943.
* Newport in the Rockies by Marshall Sprague. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press,1987.

Maria Josefa Jaramillo Carson

presented by Vangie Sena

Maria Josefa Jaramillo Carson, the third wife of Kit Carson, was born in 1828 in a small village north of Santa  Fe in New Mexico. She was the great, great granddaughter of the early settlers who came to the area from Mexico in 1693 with Don Diego de Vargas to re-establish the colonies lost during the Pueblo Indian revolt of 1680. Shortly after her birth, her father moved the family to Taos where he became a merchant on the Santa Fe Trail. Growing up there she became acquainted with the trappers, hunters, and traders that traded along the trail. When she was but a child in her early teens, her beauty, simple grace and warmth attracted Kit Carson to her. They were married just a month before her fifteenth birthday. Little did she know of the hardships and loneliness she would experience as the wife of the famous hunter, trader, explorer and Military General. Hers is the story of a young Hispanic girl from New Mexico who quickly became a woman and fulfilled her destiny as a faithful wife and mother.

Dr. Vangie Sena spent many years as a teacher, librarian, and administrator in Denver Public Schools. She was drawn to Maria's story because of their shared Hispanic heritage. Her ancestors, like Marias, made the long journey in the same caravan with Don Diego de Vargas in 1693.

Suggested Readings:
* Maria Josefa Jaramillo, Wife of Kit Carson by Maria C. Martinez.  Self published and printed in San Luis, CO, 2003.
* Kit Carson and his Three Wives, A Family History, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 2003.

Alexander Hamilton

presented by Hal Bidlack

General Hamilton was a self-made man in an era when the term meant much more. He rose from poverty and an ignoble birth to become a general, a leader, and the founder of our economic and legal systems. Perhaps most impressive is the breadth of his service. He served nobly in three arenas: in uniform, in office, and with the quill. After serving as George Washington's closest aide, General Hamilton earned a combat command where he led his troops from the front, and was the first man over the walls during the climactic Battle of Yorktown. At the age of 32, he was this nation's first Secretary of Treasury. He was the author of a variety of pamphlets calling for the American Revolution, and was the principal author of the Federalist Papers, perhaps the greatest writing on American political thought ever crafted.

Hal Bidlack is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force and is currently assigned to the United States Department of State in Washington. He holds all his academic degrees from the University of Michigan, including a Ph.D. in political science, and regularly portrays Hamilton around the country as well as on the public radio program, The Thomas Jefferson Hour.

Suggested Reading

* Alexander Hamilton, American by Richard Brookhiser. The Free Press, 1999.
* Alexander Hamilton: A Biography by Forrest McDonald. W.W. Norton & Company, 1979.
* Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Morton J. Frisch. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1985.

Helen Hunt Jackson

presented by Doris McCraw

Author Helen Hunt Jackson (1831-1886) is remembered for her stand on the rights of Native Americans.  Her exchange of 'letters' with William N. Byers, former editor of the Rocky Mountain News, in the New York Tribune during the winter of 1879 regarding the Sand Creek Massacre, gives a picture of Helen's determination when attached to a cause.

The work Helen did for the Native Americans is only part of the body of work that she produced in the almost twenty years she made her living as a writer.  Her life story is full of heartache, loss, tragedy, and triumph.  Orphaned by age 17, she went on to marry and then lost her two children and first husband to illness and accident.  Helen persisted in spite of these losses to become one of the most celebrated poets, essayists and novelists of the mid 1800s.

Doris McCraw is an actress, writer, and instructor living in Colorado Springs, where Helen Hunt Jackson spent her last years.  Over the past five years Doris has brought Helen to life for various events and groups throughout the region.

Doris is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and has spent the last few years teaching acting and writing.  She is currently the newsletter editor for Women Writing the West, a national writers association.

Suggested Reading

* Helen Hunt Jackson: Selected Colorado Writings edited by Mark I. West. Filter Press LLC, 2002.
* Helen Hunt Jackson by Ruth Odell.  D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc, New York, London, 1939.

Thomas Jefferson

presented by Jack Van Ens

James Parton, a nineteenth-century biographer of Jefferson, described him as someone who "could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a case, break a horse, dance a minuet, and play the violin."  This description of Jefferson's capabilities is even more stunning because Parton was focusing on a young Jefferson who had not yet written The Declaration of Independence.  What kindled the fires of Jefferson's soul so that his interests glowed with a fierce intensity was his passionate search for the truth.  Jefferson knew that, while what is unknown is humanity's greatest challenge to discover, uncertainty is the heart's gravest fear.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was born on April 13, 1743.  As a student and young legislator, Jefferson read widely in Greek classics, Shakespeare, and the Bible.  Jefferson founded the University of Virginia and also donated his 7,000 volume library to the United States government.  He was a man of immense talents and multiple interests, not the least being religion and its place in American society.  Not only was Jefferson a statesman, but a scientist, architect, farmer educator, inventor, geographer, lover of the arts and a searcher of the truth.

Jack R. Van Ens received his Master of Divinity in 1972, his Master of Theology in 1976 and his Doctorate of Ministry in 1984 from the Princeton University/Seminary. He is currently the president and CEO of Creative Growth Associates where he instructs and leads educational, business and religious non-profit groups.

Suggested Reading:

Jefferson and His Times by Dumas Malone.  6 vols.  Little, Brown, 1948-1982.
Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation
by Merril D. Peterson.  Oxford University Press, 1970.
The Portable Thomas Jefferson,
ed.  Merril D. Peterson.  Penguin Books, 1975.

Meriwether Lewis

presented by Kurt Skinner

In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson selected Captain Meriwether Lewis as his personal aide, dramatically altering the course of this young U.S. Army officer's life. For nearly two years, Lewis lived in the White House and absorbed Jefferson's Enlightenment ideals. In 1803, Jefferson again chose his protege Lewis to lead the first American expedition through the interior of North America. With best friend and co-captain, William Clark, he successfully led a large government-sponsored exploring party to the source of the Missouri River, across the Rocky Mountains in today's Montana and Idaho, and down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.

During this voyage, Lewis established American diplomatic and trade relations with dozens of native tribes, and documented hundreds of western animal and plant species new to science, but also confirmed the absence of an all-water route across the continent. Upon his return to a hero's welcome in 1806, Jefferson appointed Lewis as Governor of the newly purchased (and recently explored) Louisiana Territory. Lewis's exploration achievements were soon overshadowed by the daily burdens of governing the troublesome frontier, the menace of petty bureaucrats, and increasingly debilitating bouts of malaria, leading to the inexplicable failure to publish a single page of his highly anticipated account of trans-continental discovery. Meriwether Lewis was only thirty five years old when his life tragically ended in 1809, almost surely by his own hand, believing he had deeply disappointed the mentor to whom he owed everything, Thomas Jefferson.

Kurt Skinner is a retired military officer turned high school American history teacher. He is a lifelong student of the Lewis and Clark expedition and is drawn to complicated historical figures and stories of courage, perseverance, adventure, and exploration. He is committed to creating a realistic living history experience, introducing his audiences to the complex character of Meriwether Lewis.

Suggested Reading:
* The Lewis and Clark Journals (Abridged Edition): An American Epic of Discovery edited by Gary Moulton. University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
* The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness by Clay Jenkinson. DakotaInstitute, 2011.
* Meriwether Lewis: A Biography by Thomas Danisi. Prometheus Books, 2009.
* Uncovering the Truth About Meriwether Lewis by Thomas Danisi. Prometheus Books, 2012.
* Undaunted Courage by Steve Ambrose. Simon & Schuster, 1997.
* Lewis and Clark Among the Indians by James Ronda. Bison Books, 2002 (2nd edition).
* Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists by Paul Russell Cutright. University of NebraskaPress, 2003 (2nd edition).

Abraham Lincoln

presented by John Voehl

After suffering repeated tragedies in his family, business, and political career, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) became President of the United States during its greatest crisis.  Today he continues to be a positive role model for generations of Americans as well as people all over the world.  President Lincoln's name is synonymous with liberty and patriotism.  Lincoln is regarded as one of our greatest presidents, both for keeping our states united (rather than divided), and ending slavery during his Civil War presidency.  His superlative life showcases many honorable virtues including lifelong learning, self-improvement, leadership, honesty, integrity, perserverance, storytelling, and humor.  Abraham Lincoln is also one of our best historical illustrations of the balance between humility and self-confidence.  More book have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American.

As a Lincoln historian and presenter since 1997, John Voehl has provided nearly 600 Lincoln presentations and appearances in 22 different states.  He has studied over 300 books on President Lincoln, the Civil War, and other aspects of American history.  His passion and commitment is to make Lincoln come alive for each person in his audience.  John Voehl holds a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, with majors in Business Economics and Mathematics.

Suggested Reading

* Honor's Voice: the Transformation of Abraham Lincoln by Douglas L. Wilson.  A. Knoff Inc, New York, 1998
* Lincoln by David Herbert Donald.  Simon and Schuster books on tape, 1995
* Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns-Goodwin. Recorded Books, 2006

Diego Martín, el vaquero

presented by Angel Vigil

Diego Martín, el vaquero, the Spanish colonial cowboy, is a true American hero. He was the first cowboy to ride the open ranges and sleep under the stars; the first cowboy to tame the wild horses of the plains and  deliver vast herds of cattle across great distances; and the first master of the basic eternal cowboy skills-riding and roping. El vaquero was the repository of highly practical and effective Spanish wisdom and experience in the ways of horses and cattle, developed over generations on the open plains of European Spain and New Spain in the Americas. His language gave us the words we now accept as common cowboy "lingo."

Diego Martín, el vaquero, is a composite character based upon traditional vaquero stories and histories. His story is the living history of the origins and development of traditional cowboy practices in the American West.

Angel Vigil is chairman of the Fine and Performing Arts Department and director of drama at Colorado Academy in Denver, Colorado. Vigil is an award winning author, educator and storyteller. His awards include the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education, Heritage Artist Award, Master Artist Award and a COVisions Recognition Fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts, and the Mayor's Individual Artist Fellowship. Vigil is the author of four books on the Hispanic culture and arts and a fifth book about cowboys.

Suggested Reading

* Cowboy Culture: A Saga of Five Centuries by David Dary. University Press of Kansas, 1989.
* Californicos: The Sage of Hard-Riding Vaqueros, America's First Cowboy by Jo Mora. Dober Hill, Ltd., 1994.
* Enduring Cowboys: Life in the New Mexico Saddle by Arnold Vigil. New Mexico Magazine, 1999.

Otto Mears

presented by Steve Lee

One of the most influential men in the pioneering era of Colorado was a Russian immigrant named Otto Mears (1840-1931).

Orphaned at age three, and living on his own from the age of eleven, he came to the Colorado Territory in 1865. He built toll roads and railroads where none existed in the steepest parts of the Rocky Mountains, thus opening up the vast riches of Colorado’s high country to exploration and development. He was a witness at the trial of Alfred Packer, he helped design the Colorado State Capitol building, and was a power to contend with in Colorado politics for fifty years. His place in Colorado’s history is immortalized in stained glass in the state senate chambers.

Steve Lee taught sixth grade for thirty-two years, often through the use of stories. Now, he is able to devote more time to the art of telling stories that teach. Steve works at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado, where he provides educational programs. Steve and Otto share similar physical characteristics and ethnicity, further cementing the connection Steve feels to this early Colorado pioneer.

Suggested Reading

* Otto Mears and the San Juans by E.F. Tucker. Western Reflections Pub. Co., 2003.
* Otto Mears: Paradoxical Pathfinder by M. Kaplan. San Juan County Book Co., 1982.
* The Remarkable Railroad Passes of Otto Mears by W.K. Strong. San Juan Book Co., 1988.

Golda Meir

presented by Helen M. Trencher

Russian born, American bred, and twice an immigrant to new lands, Golda Meir lived an extraordinary life-a life not without controversy or sacrifice-but an extraordinary one, nonetheless. During her adolescence, Golda became enthralled with the idea of a Jewish homeland-a Zionist nation where Jews could live and thrive. These ideas turned into actions, which informed the choices she made throughout her life. As a newlywed with a strong socialist nature, Golda and her husband, Morris Meyerson, in 1921 immigrated to what was then known as Palestine to work on a kibbutz (agricultural cooperative). Golda eventually left the kibbutz and became a working mother who dedicated her service to the fledgling country. She ultimately rose through the ranks of the provisional government to witness the birth of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Golda Meir continued to serve her chosen country for the next 26 years in a variety of capacities-culminating as Prime Minister from 1969 through 1974.

Helen Trencher has a Masters in Education, a consulting background, and a love of performing. Since 1998, she has been a storyteller, percussionist, singer, and actor. Helen has performed for museums, libraries, city cultural events, and various ecumenical and private groups. She has been enthralled with the life of Golda Meir since she was a teenager, and creating a living history on Golda's early years was a logical next step in Helen's creative journey.

Additionally, Helen is founding member of the The Film Festival of Colorado, which held its inaugural year June 2010.

Suggested Reading
* My Life by Golda Meir. NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1975.
* My Mother Golda Meir by Menahem Meir. NY: Arbor House; 1983.
* Golda: A Biography by Ralph G. Martin. NY: Ivy Books; 1988.

Enos Mills

presented by John Stansfield

Soon after he arrived from Kansas as "an invalid boy" at age 14 in 1884, Enos Mills bonded with Colorado's wildlife, mountains, and wilderness. Growing strong and self-reliant, he roamed the American West summer and winter, experiencing numerous spine-chilling adventures, but always returned to his cabin at the foot of Longs Peak near Estes Park.

Famed explorer and nature writer John Muir inspired young Mills in his pursuits as naturalist, writer, speaker, and conservationist. Other titles aptly fit Mills, as well, including miner, nature guide, Colorado's Snowman, innkeeper, and most especially, the "father" of Rocky Mountain National Park. As boy and as man, Enos Mills lived a remarkable mountain life.

Storyteller and author of a Mills biography, John Stansfield began following the tracks of Muir and Mills and exploring the West in 1960 and has never stopped. His book, Writers of the American West: Multicultural Learning Encounters , received a Colorado Authors' League Award and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in 2002. With a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, Stansfield has taught elementary grades and now teaches on the adjunct faculty of the University of Colorado--Colorado Springs. The Wilderness Society presented him an Environmental Heroes Award in 2004 for his ongoing work to protect Colorado's wild places.

Suggested Reading

* Enos Mills: Citizen of Nature by Alexander Drummond. University Press of Colorado, 1995.
* Enos Mills of the Rockies by Hildegarde Hawthorne and Esther Burnell Mills. Temporal Mechanical Press, 2001 (1935).
* Enos Mills: Rocky Mountain Naturalist by John Stansfield. Filter Press, 2005.

Michael Mooney

presented by James Walsh

Michael Mooney emmigrated to the U.S. from Ireland around 1870. He made his way to Leadville during the silver rush, where he worked as a miner, and married a n Iris h American woman named Julia Gilgallon in Leadville. In May of 1880, when a massive miners' strike broke out in Leadville, Mooney was thrust into the role as union leader, a role that he did not seek. The strike all but shut down Leadville and hurt the Colorado economy and when local business leaders pleaded for the governor to declare martial law, Leadville was turned into an armed camp. Mooney led the men with care and dignity throughout the three week strike, constantly encouraging them to remain nonviolent and to avoid the saloons. He left Leadville with his family a few years after the strike. His story speaks to the challenges that Irish immigrants faced in the American West in the years following the Civil War.

James Walsh is full time faculty member in the history department at the University of Colorado at Denver, where he has taught as an Instructor for the past eleven years. James specializes in Immigration, Labor and Irish American history. For years, Walsh has used the art of theater to teach history. His students write and perform plays about history.

Suggested Reading

* The Butte Irish by David Emmons,
* Irish American Nationalism by Thomas Brown,
* Erin's Daughters in America by Hasia Diner.

Minnie Pearl

presented by Elsa Wolff

If it weren't for Sarah Ophelia Colley, the world would have never known Minnie Pearl.  But, there never would have been a Minnie Pearl if Sarah Ophelia Colley had had her way - at first.

A veteran of 51 years on the Grand Ole Opry,  Minnie Pearl was country's preeminent comedian and one of the most recognized and beloved performers American country culture has ever produced.  With her gingham dress, a price tag dangling off her flower-strewn straw hat and her famous bellow of "Howdeeee!", Minnie Pearl became known worldwide as an icon of rural America.  Minnie Pearl wasn't the means or path that Sarah Ophelia Colley would have chosen back when she started her career.  Born into a well-to-do, cultured, Southern home, Colley was reared in a home where refinement and education were held in high regard.   Aspiring to become a serious actress, Colley attended Ward-Belmont College in Nashville and studied stage technique and dance.  Despite her aspirations of becoming a serious actress, she found that her natural comic flair kept sabotaging her attempts at serious parts, but she acknowledges, "God had been leading me in the right direction all along.  He always does."

Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon became more known as Minnie Pearl than as herself, but she always considered Minnie not only her alter ego but her best one.    Cannon never could have guessed that this funny, lovable country girl could become such an American institution -- she grew to love and appreciate Minnie as the whole country did.   Minnie Pearl (Sarah Cannon) became the first woman inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1975.

The world is grateful that a beautiful soul like Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon did pass this way, leaving joy and laughter in her trail.  Thank you, Minnie!

Storyteller, singer and speaker for 15 years, Elsa Wolff  has enjoyed presenting Minnie Pearl throughout Colorado and Ohio. Using humor and sensitivity, she captivates the audience with her personable portrayal of this beloved comedian.

Suggested Reading

*Colin/Colladay Escott,  The Grand Ole Opry - The Making of an American Icon.  Nashville: Grand Central Publishing, 2007.*Minnie Pearl, with Joan Dew. Minnie Pearl. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980.*Queen of the Grand Ole Opry. Legacy-DNA, CD, 1993

Eleanor Roosevelt

presented by Susan Marie Frontczak

Meet first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in one of three settings: either in the Great Depression, or during World War II, or at the United Nations. Starting in the 1920's Eleanor worked to advance minimum wage, maximum hours, laws against child labor, women's rights, women's representation in government, civil rights, and other progressive causes. As soon as FDR was installed in office in 1933 she held a press conference for women reporters only. No other "first lady" had ever taken on such a public role. She continued to advance her causes while her husband was in office. She often served as her husband's "eyes and ears" across the United States by inspecting factories, inner city tenements, military camps, etc. - because FDR's polio confined him to a wheelchair. After his death, she became a delegate to the newly formed United Nations and led the development of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Behind this public life is the story of a little girl who lost both parents before the age of ten, a debutante who felt trapped by society's expectations, and a young wife who raised five children before emerging as one of the 20th century's most influential women.

Susan Marie Frontczak has given over 100 presentations as Eleanor Roosevelt across the United States.  Combing through over a thousand linear feet of Eleanor Roosevelt papers at Hyde Park, New York, Susan Marie finds Eleanor Roosevelt's life almost too big to hold, and yet she is convinced this first lady's story has a great deal to offer the world today.  She believes that in times of strife we must look to our heroes and heroines, and that Mrs. Roosevelt's inclusive approach can guide us as we move forward.

Suggested Reading

* The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, De Capo Press 1961.
* Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P. Lash, New American Library 1971.
* Eleanor Roosevelt, Volumes 1, and 2 by Blanche Wiesen Cook. Penguin Books Vol 1 1992, Vol 2 1999.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

presented by Richard Marold

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president four times, more than any man in U.S. history. Although born and raised in a privileged New York family, FDR became the spokesman for the average American. After 1921 he was unable to walk on his own because of polio, but he later brought the country back to its feet.

During his administration, Social Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other programs were established to deal with the economic depression. Probably more than any president in the 20th century, FDR changed the executive branch into a stronger, more active partner in achieving the common good of the country. FDR dealt with two major crises of the 20th century: The Great Depression, which lasted through most of the 1930s, and World War II. Both crises elicited from FDR the humanity, vision, determination, negotiation and leadership which lifted him into the realm of great American presidents. During his presidency, from 1933 to 1945, FDR became known for his famous "Fireside Chats."

Richard Marold is author of FDR - Pivotal American President. He holds a MA in Humanities from Penn State University and has portrayed FDR throughout his home state of Colorado as well as before educational and professional groups nationwide.

Suggested Reading

* Traitor to His Class by H. W. Brands, Random House, 2007.
* FDR by Jean Edward Smith, Random House, 2007.
* No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Rosie the Riveter

presented by Gail M. Beaton

"Rosie the Riveter," the name given to women war workers during World War II, lived and worked throughout the United States welding, making bullets, and doing a wide variety of factory jobs for the war effort.

Between 1941 and 1945, Colorado had its own "Rosies" working at the Remington Arms Factory in Denver. Located at the site of the present day Denver Federal Center, the Denver Ordnance Plant produced as many as six million bullets a day for U.S. troops. "Gail Murphy" is a composite character drawn from the records and memories of these women war workers.

Gail M. Beaton, a teacher of U.S. History, has taught for more than 26 years in Colorado public schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has two M.A. degrees; one in U.S. History and another in Public History from the University of Colorado/Denver. Gail has been acknowledged as an outstanding teacher by the Public Service Company and the Denver Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her essays have been published in various history journals.

Suggested Reading

* Bullets for the Yanks: Colorado's WWII Ammunition Factory by Christine Pfaff. Colorado Heritage Magazine, Summer 1992.
* Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Women, the War, and Social Change by Sherna Berger Gluck. Twayne Publishers, 1982.
* The Home Front and Beyond: American Women in the 1940s by Susan M. Hartmann. Twayne Publishers, 1982.

Irena Sendler

presented by Judy Winnick

In the midst of the Holocaust, there was goodness.

Irena Sendler was the "Angel of the Warsaw Ghetto".  As a Polish Catholic social worker during World War II, she risked her life to save others.  She was the leader of the children's section of Zegota, Council for Aid to Jews, and part of the Polish underground.  With ingenuity, calmness and courage, she was responsible for rescuing 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto.  To keep them safe she provided them with new homes, false identities, forged documents, and kept the only record of the children in hiding.  Irena never thought of herself as a hero and said she simply did what needed to be done, and followed her heart.

Irena was born in 1910 and died in Warsaw in 2008 at the age of 98.  During her lifetime she received many awards for her humanitarian work.  In addition to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Irena was recognized by the State of Israel as one of the "Righteous Among Nations" at Yad Vashem.  Throughout her life she never gave up hope and inspired others to make the world a better place.

During her teaching career, Judy Winnick received one of Colorado's Distinguished Teacher Awards.  Since her retirement, she has been portraying extraordinary women from history.  She has performed Irena Sendler for libraries, schools, churches, synagogues, historical societies, and private organizations.  Judy thrives on extensive research.  Her audiences find her portrayal of Irena compelling and inspiring, just as she herself has been captivated by Irena's story.

Suggested Reading

* Irena Sendler: Mother of the Children of the Holocaust by Anna Mieszkowska, Praeger, 2011
* The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust by Mordecai Paldiel, KTAV Publishing House, 1993
* Code Name: Zegota by Irene Tomaszewski and Tecia Werbowski, Praeger, 2010

Mary Shelley

presented by Susan Marie Frontczak

Teen-age mother, behind-the-scenes supporter of social reform, romantic, and scholar, English writer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) may be best known as the author of Frankenstein, but there is much more to be learned about her, both personally and psychologically.

As well as becoming a significant author in her own right, Mary Shelley bore the combined burden and blessing of being the only offspring between eminent authors Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. Likewise, she enjoyed both attention and passion, and sustained rejection and isolation for becoming the wife of the outspoken and controversial poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. With stridently vocal parents and husband, Mary sought a gentler path of persuasion, opening her novels with the admired status quo, and ever so gradually leading the reader to a new point of view. As Mary reveals her process as an author in creating Frankenstein, you learn how she viewed the world around her and how, in turn, the world treated her.

For over 20 years, Susan Marie Frontczak has brought history and literature to life, created stories from thin air, and honed personal experience into tales worth telling again and again. She presents to university, corporate, school, family, and theater audiences across the U.S. Susan Marie was invited to develop a living history of Mary Shelley in connection with the American Library Association's traveling exhibit "Frankenstein, Penetrating the Secrets of Nature." She is fascinated by the writer's process - how an author like Mary Shelley rearranges elements from her own life, adds a bit if imagination, and constructs a novel that continues to challenge us almost two centuries after it was written.

Suggested Reading

* Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour. Grove Press, NY 2000.
* The Godwins and the Shelleys.
* Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
* (For children) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley adapted by Larry Weinberg. True to the original story, reading level grades 3 & 4. Random House, New York 1982. ISBN 0-394-84827-6.

Lucy Stone

presented by Lyda Mary Hardy

It was Lucy Stone (1818-1893) who converted Susan B. Anthony to the cause of women's suffrage. The first Massachusetts woman to earn a college degree, Stone graduated in 1847 from Oberlin, the only college that admitted women. Soon after, she began to lecture for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, at a time when it was forbidden for women to speak in public. Admitting that, "I was a woman before I was an abolitionist, I must speak for the women." Stone spent her life devoted to women's issues. She headed the American Woman Suffrage Association and edited the Woman's Journal, the longest running publication supporting the rights of women. After being honored at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Stone became sick and died. A fighter to the end, her last words to her daughter, Alice Stone Blackwell, were, "Make the world better."

Lyda Mary Hardy has a B.A. from Alma College and a M.A. from the University of Michigan. Her interest in women's issues began in Michigan in the early 1970s and was rekindled at the annual conference of the National Women's History Project in California in 1994. She came to Colorado to be the librarian at Gunnison High School in 1977 and is presently in that position.

Suggested Reading

* Lucy Stone: Pioneer of Woman's Rights by Alice Stone Blackwell. Little, Brown Publishers, 1930.
* Friends and Sisters: Letters Between Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown Blackwell, 1846-1895, eds. Carol Lasser and Marlene Deahl Merrill. University of Illinois Press, 1987.
* Loving Warriors: Selected Letters of Lucy Stone and Henry B. Blackwell, 1855 to 1895, ed. Leslie Wheeler. Dial Press, 1981.

Winfield Scott Stratton

presented by Richard Marold

Winfield Scott Stratton, an itinerant carpenter and prospector in the Rockies during the 1870s and 80s, became the envy of the mining world in the 1890s when he emerged from the Cripple Creek gold fields as a multi-millionaire. A paradoxical character who struggled under the burden of his wealth, Stratton contributed enormously to the building and beauty of Colorado.

In this program the history of the latter half of the 19th century in Colorado comes alive: the mass movement west, the lure of gold and silver, railroads, the flamboyance, greed and tragedy of those eager to get rich quick. In this "wild west" setting, Stratton stands out for his conservation, simplicity and sense of the common good.

Richard Marold is the author of Reluctant Millionaire on the life of Stratton. He holds a MA in Humanities from Penn State University.  Richard Marold is editor of Cheyenne Mountain KIVA, a journal on the history of central Colorado  Marold's portrayal of Stratton is partly shaped by his family's roots in the gold mining district of Victor and Cripple Creek, and his life in Colorado Springs.

Suggested Reading

* Midas of the Rockies by Frank Waters. Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1989.
* Money Mountain by Marshall Sprague. Ballantine Books, 1953.
* The King of Cripple Creek by Marshall Sprague. Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District, 1994.

Augusta Tabor and Winfield Scott Stratton

presented jointly by Mary Jane Bradbury and Richard Marold

Enjoy a fascinating visit with two of Colorado's most famous 19th century stalwarts: Augusta Tabor and Winfield Scott Stratton. Participants will learn about the human surge to the west, the lure of gold and silver, the greed and tragedy of those eager to get rich quick. Augusta was the business-wise, hard working wife of Horace Tabor. He became wealthy through silver mining in Leadville, and then, in a scandalous move, cast Augusta aside to marry the younger Baby Doe. Stratton, after prospecting for 19 years, struck gold in the Cripple Creek area and emerged a multimillionaire in the 1890s, becoming one of Colorado's best known humanitarians. Return to a captivating period in western history as Augusta Tabor and Winfield Scott Stratton recall life in the 19th century boom towns in the Rockies - towns that shaped the first 25 years of Colorado statehood.

Augusta Tabor is portrayed by Mary Jane Bradbury, an actress and presenter at Four Mile Historic Park in Denver. She holds a Masters Degree in Speech Communications. Mary Jane also portrays Molly Brown, Jeanette Rankin, Martha Maxwell and presents the popular program "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History."

Winfield Scott Stratton is portrayed by Richard Marold, a historian, editor of Cheyenne Mountain KIVA, and resident of Colorado Springs. He holds a Masters Degree in Humanities and is the author of Winfield Scott Stratton, Reluctant Millionaire. Marold also portrays Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Suggested Reading

* Augusta Tabor: A Pioneering Woman by Betty Moynihan. Cordillera Press, 1988
* Horace Tabor: His Life and Legend by Duane Smith. Colorado Associate University Press, 1973
* Midas of the Rockies by Frank Waters. Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1989
* Winfield Scott Stratton by Richard Marold, 2008

Nikola Tesla

Presented by Richard Marold

Nikola Tesla was the brilliant scientist whose work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries set the stage for the technological breakthroughs that shape our world of today. He devised the system of alternating current, the polyphase alternating-current system, and created the modern radio system. Among his discoveries are the florescent light, laser beam, wireless communications, wireless transmission of electrical energy, remote control and robotics. He registered over 700 patents worldwide. He foresaw interplanetary communications and satellites.
Tesla spent seven months in Colorado in 1899 conducting experiments in wireless telegraphy and investigating the higher strata of the atmosphere. Enjoy a visit with this brilliant, although eccentric, genius whose humanity motivated the exceptional research he conducted.

Richard Marold, a resident and native of Colorado, has worked as a chautauquan for a number of years. In addition to Tesla he also portrays Winfield Scott Stratton and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Marold, who holds a masters degree in humanities from Penn State University, has edited a journal on Colorado history and is author of "Reluctant Millionaire" on Stratton.

Suggested Reading

* Lightning in His Hand, The Life Story of Nikola Tesla by Inez Hunt and Wanetta Draper
* Prodigal Genius, The Life of Nikola Tesla,by John J. O'Neill
* Tesla, Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney

Maria von Trapp

Presented by Elsa Wolff

The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards.  It was not generally known that the movie was based on a real story.  There really is a Maria von Trapp and her life story is even more captivating and surprising than the popular film.  Matriarch of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria von Trapp (1905-1987) is a woman of passionate faith and uncompromising determination.  Her life takes her from orphan to Baroness, from postulant at Nonnberg Abbey to mother of 10 children.  Maria boldly leads her family from being refugees leaving Nazi-invaded Austria to becoming an internationally known singing group in America and around the world.

In this program, Maria enjoys comparing what people think they know about her from the musical with the true story.  Sharing memories from pre-WWII Austria to the 1965 release of The Sound of Music, you'll learn the story of the Trapp Family and their journey to a new home in America.  The family faced many mountains to climb with challenges, set-backs and hard work.  Maria's is a story of overcoming and the faith to keep on trying.

Storyteller, singer and speaker for 16 years, Elsa Wolff was excited to add Maria von Trapp to her Chautauqua characters.  Having spent 5 years living near the Austrian Alps, Elsa feels especially connected to the von Trapp family history.  Using humor, story and music, she draws the audience in with this personal portrayal of Maria von Trapp.

Suggested reading

*  Maria von Trapp - Beyond The Sound of Music by Candice Ransom. Carolrhoda books, Inc. Minneapolis, MN, 2002.
*  The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp 1949.
*  Yesterday, Today and Forever:  The Religious Life of a Remarkable Family by Maria Augusta Trapp, 1952.
*  Maria:  My Own Story by Maria Augusta Trapp, 1972

The Firey Particle: H.G. Wells

Performed by David Skipper

Discover 'things to come' with the Edgar Allan Poe of science fiction, H. G. Wells. Join Wells as he reveals the future of our world through an examination of his popular scientific romances The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau. Did you know Wells predicted the world wide encyclopedia... the internet?  Learn what Wells thought of Orson Welles 1939 Halloween broadcast of "War of the Worlds."

David Skipper is a seasoned storyteller and actor, having over fifteen years of theatrical performance experience. He has utilized his Celtic, Hispanic and Native American ancestry to enhance his storytelling gifts throughout the years. Skipper is a former writer for "The Scottish-American" and "Scottish Banner" newspapers. He writes children's fantasy and horror for his own amusement. He received his M.A. in communication arts from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

Suggested Reading

* Experiment in Autobiography. By H.G. Wells. The Macmillan Company, NY, 1934
* The Outline of History.
By H.G. Wells. Garden City Books, NY, 1920.
* H.G. Wells: Aspects of a Life. By Anthony West. Random House, NY, 1984.

Out of State Scholars

P.T. Barnum

presented by Doug Mishler

For millions of people around the world in the 1800s, P. T. Barnum personified America. He entertained and amused the public with a "monomania" to "arouse attention" for his museum, his circus, and himself. Long before Emerson made "self-reliance" the essence of the American spirit, Barnum was living it.  By age 25 he was known across the country for his self-constructed controversies such as the "Fee Jee Mermaid."  His amazing rise from poverty to great wealth was the consummate American "rags to riches" story.  His belief that all Americans must be civically active propelled him into politics as mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, then as a state legislator (he called for both the enfranchisement of blacks and women's equality), and finally almost becoming a U.S. Senator.  Though often remembered solely for his humbugs, he was a critical figure in the legitimization of the theater, opera, the circus, and Wild West shows.  He is the man who brought Jenny Lind to America and built a museum of over 500,000 wonders which in ten years drew more attendance than the entire population of the United States.

In the last fifteen years Doug Mishler has brought "history to life" in well over one thousand presentations. In addition to "The Sun of the Amusement World", P. T. Barnum, Doug has presented Theodore Roosevelt, Ernie Pyle, General Stonewall Jackson and 11 other historical figures.  Doug now lives outside Colorado; additional fees would apply.

Fritz Benedict

presented by Al Dietsch

Fritz Benedict (1914-1995) first fell in love with Aspen, Colorado, in 1941 when, while working for Frank Lloyd Wright, he went there to race in the National Skiing Championships.  However, what made Fritz's forty years of living in Aspen outstanding wasn't only his skiing ability.  It was his combination of vision, design, and love of the outdoors that enabled him to leave his mark on the town of Aspen as it awoke from its long sleep after the 1893 silver crash.

While training with the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale near Aspen in 1942, Fritz vowed to return to the little mining town after the war was over.  He was decorated for scouting behind German lines to find bridges and other infrastructure that would allow American forces to move through the rugged Italian mountains.  When the war ended, he returned to Aspen and bought a 600-acre sheep ranch on Red Mountain above the town.  It was his first step in the journey that was instrumental in shaping the future of the town as it grew into one of the world's foremost resorts.

With his beloved and entertainingly unconventional wife, Fabi, he left a legacy of community involvement that guided the development and growth of Aspen.  Not only did Fritz design hundreds of residences and commercial buildings, he also laid out the town of Vail and the village of Snowmass.  He founded the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association to encourage appreciation and use of Colorado's mountains for recreational purposes.  Today the Association manages 30 backcountry huts connected by 350 miles of trails.

Al Dietsch is a lawyer and businessman who became a storyteller with Spellbinders in his retirement years.  He has lived in Aspen for thirty years.  Al knew Fritz personally; both were Chairmen of the Aspen Music Festival and School.  Al shares Fritz's passion for preserving the beauty of nature as Colorado's Western Slope continues to act as a magnet attracting new residents.

Rafael Chacón

presented by Enrique Lamadrid

Capitán Rafael Chacón was witness to the most significant events in the formation of modern New Mexico, between the U.S. invasion of 1846 and statehood in 1912. At the tender age of 13, he commanded an artillery position at Apache Pass for the aborted defense of Santa Fe. During the Civil War, his company fired both the first and last shots at the Texan invaders at the Battles of Valverde and Glorieta.

Chacón served with honor in the campaigns for peace with the Navajo and Apache, and was the first commander of Fort Stanton. He embraced the challenges and contradictions facing all Nuevo Mexicanos, rose to action, and recorded his reflections as the most resonant Hispano voice from the 19th century. In his later life, Chacón moved to Colorado and was one of the founding fathers of Trinidad, Colorado.

Enrique Lamadrid is a folklorist, critic, translator and professor at the University of New Mexico. His research charts the influence of indigenous cultures on the Spanish language and imagination. His literary writings explore the borderlands between cultures, popular traditions, and literary expression.

Suggested Reading

Legacy of Honor: The Life of Rafael Chacón, a Nineteenth-Century New Mexican by Rafael Chacón, ed. Jacqueline D. Meketa. University of New Mexico Press, 1986.
The Civil War in New Mexico by F. Francis Stanley. World Press, 1960.
Bloody Valverde: a Civil War Battle on the Rio Grande, February 21, 1862 by John McLellan Taylor. University of New Mexico Press, 1995.

Henry Ford

presented by Doug Mishler

Many Americans remember Henry Ford as the inventor of the American automobile.  While this memory is faulty, it is understandable because of Ford's dominance of the automobile industry between 1910 and 1930.  His revolutionary "five dollar-eight hour day" for workers, his inexpensive every-man automobiles, his moving assembly line, and his amazing command of technology, all made him appear as a visionary and a symbol of American progress. He became one of the most popular, troubling, and important people from 1910 to 1930--so popular he almost gained the U.S. Senate in 1918, and the U. S. Presidency in 1924.

Henry Ford can be described as a true genius of a new modern world.  He can also be described as a reactionary attempting to hold back that world.  Both descriptions are accurate and that is what makes Ford so fascinating and so illustrative of the era 1910-1930.

In the last fifteen years Doug Mishler has brought "history to life" in well over one thousand presentations. In addition to "The Sun of the Amusement World", P. T. Barnum, Doug has presented Theodore Roosevelt, Ernie Pyle, General Stonewall Jackson and 11 other historical figures.  Doug now lives outside Colorado; additional fees would apply.

Martha Maxwell

presented by Mary Jane Bradbury

Martha Maxwell traveled to Colorado Territory with the first wave of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush in 1860. A self-educated naturalist and artist, she found her passion and life's work quite by accident and contributed to the development of taxidermy and museum display with ideas and techniques that are still used today. The foremost woman natural scientist of the 19 th century, Martha was one of the first women to collect and prepare her own skins and mounts. She spent nearly eight continuous years in the field in the Rocky Mountains, documenting the presence of species previously not known to live there. Martha is the first woman to have a subspecies that she herself discovered named after her - otus asio maxwelliae - Maxwell's owl. In 1876, she represented Colorado at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. A true trail blazer, Martha Maxwell's inspiring journey is one of passion and determination.

As actress, speaker and educator for over 20 years, Mary Jane Bradbury has always been drawn to the natural world. She finds Martha's resolute determination to pursue her love of science at a time when women were considered to have no aptitude for it inspiring. As an historic interpreter for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Mary Jane brings the stories of early women naturalists to life for audiences of all ages. She uses stories to remind listeners of all ages that, like Martha, they can be accomplish great things when they follow their dreams.

Suggested Reading

Martha Maxwell: Rocky Mountain Naturalist by Maxine Benson. University of Nebraska Press, 1986
Thanks to Abigail: A Family Chronicle by Mabel Maxwell Brace. Privately printed, 1948
On the Plains and Among the Peaks by Mary Dartt. Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1878

Jeannette Rankin

presented by Mary Jane Bradbury

Suffragist, pacifist and tireless advocate for social reform, Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, and the only member of Congress to vote against U.S. entry into both world wars. She worked for the cause of women and children during the reform decades of the early 20th century. As a lifelong pacifist, she served as a lobbyist for the Women's Peace Union and was a representative for the National Council for the Prevention of War. Through her activities as a lobbyist before, during and after her terms in Congress, and her commitment to peace and governmental reform, she never stopped believing in and working for a peaceful world and a government in which people truly had a voice. Jeannette Rankin was a daughter, sister, congresswoman, and pacifist whose deep love for humanity makes her not only a hero of peace, but a symbol of hope.

A colleague of Jeannette Rankin once wrote of her, "Breathes there a man with a heart so brave that he would want to become one of a deliberate body made up of 434 women and himself?" Storyteller, speaker and educator for over 20 years, Mary Jane Bradbury uses her unique style to portray the remarkable moments of that bravery in this oft unsung woman's life.

Suggested Reading

A Heart in Politics: Jeannette Rankin and Patsy Mink by Sue Davidson. Seal Press, 1994
First Lady in Congress: Jeannette Rankin by Hannah Josephson. Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1974
Jeannette Rankin: America's Conscience by Norma Smith. Montana Historical Society Press, 2002

Theodore Roosevelt

presented by Doug Mishler

It is not just Roosevelt's distinguished career that makes him one of 'the' seminal
figures of the past century.  Rather, it is because his career and fantastic life coincided with profound alterations in the political and social fabric of America.  More important to us on the verge of the twenty-first century is Roosevelt's legacy of actions in response to the challenges posed at the beginning of the twentieth century. Roosevelt utilized the presidency and the government as agents in all his crusades.  He believed that the social problems were too large and special interests too powerful for individuals to fight them on their own. .  He was at his core a vigorous moralist and reformer who advocated equity for the poor, workers, minorities, and women, as he forever altered the national dialogue about the limits of individualism and capitalism.  Doug now lives outside Colorado; additional fees would apply.

 

Nancy Cooper Russell

presented by Mary Jane Bradbury

Against the backdrop of social and political reform of the early 1900s, Nancy Cooper Russell was a woman ahead of her time. A self-taught businesswoman with the ability to take charge, Nancy helped Charles M. Russell become the highest paid living artist of his time.  Art historians never fail to give her credit for being the reason the world has the extraordinary Russell paintings and sculptures that gracy gallery and private collections today.  Who was this remarkable woman behind the man?  Nancy shares the story of her chance meeting with the cowboy artist who would become her husband, about the world of art that celebrated the myth of the West at the beginning of the 20th century, about the renowned artists and celebrities the Russells knew as they traveled from New York City to the growing California suburb called Hollywood.

As actress, speaker and educator for over twenty years, Mary Jane Bradbury is an entrepreneur and businesswoman who appreciates the determination and commitment involved in promoting the arts.  Charles M. Russell is one of America's premier Western artists, but few who admire his work realize it was his wife, Nancy Russell, who was the business sense that, as Will Rogers put it, attended "to the distribution end of the enterprise."  In delving into this history, Mary Jane discovered a story of companionship, partnership and love that has brought audiences a new appreciation for Russell art itself, and for the remarkable relationship that stood behind it.

Suggested Reading:

Charles M. Russell, The Life and Legend of America's Cowboy Artist by John Tagliaferro. University of Oklahoma Press, 2003
Behind Every Man by Joan Stauffer.  University of Oklahoma Press, 2008
Charles M. Russell, Cowboy Artist by Austin Russell.  Twayune Press, 1957

Augusta Tabor

presented by Mary Jane Bradbury

Often called the First Lady of Leadville, Augusta Tabor is a legend on the Colorado mining frontier. Though many consider her a footnote to the more well-known and scandalous rags to riches to rags saga of Silver Baron Horace Tabor and his second wife, Baby Doe, first wife Augusta Tabor stands alone as a pioneering businesswoman with a generous heart and strength of character that is the story of women on the western frontier. A wife, a mother, and one of the first women to come west in the Pike's Peak gold rush, Augusta braved the journey across the prairies, the primitive, isolated conditions of the early mining camps and a devastating Victorian scandal and divorce with determination and grace. Augusta's journey is the story of the triumph of the human spirit, and of adventure in the magnificent Rocky Mountains.

Storyteller, speaker and educator Mary Jane Bradbury has been portraying Augusta Tabor since 2001. She spent four summers in Leadville presenting the story of this remarkable woman to audiences at the Healy House Theater, during which time she gathered many Tabor anecdotes from locals whose families lived the history. Mary Jane has presented the Tabor story to hundreds of audiences in schools, museums, and corporate venues across Colorado, and it continues to be not only a story about the past, but one timelessly relevant to the present.

Suggested Reading

Augusta Tabor: A Pioneering Woman by Betty Moynihan. Cordillera Press, 1988.
Horace Tabor: His Life and Legend by Duane Smith. Colorado Associate University Press, 1973.
Here They Dug the Gold by George F. Willison. Reynal and Hitchcock, 1946.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

presented by Lanette Hunter-Reginelli

Laura Ingalls Wilder had a vision-to make history enjoyable to young readers. As she detailed her pioneering childhood in nine lively volumes, Laura became one of America's best-loved authors. Children continue to discover the rich history of the American frontier through her "Little House" books. On February 7, 1867, Laura Ingalls was born in Pepin, Wisconsin, the second daughter to Charles Philip and Caroline Quiner Ingalls, both second generation pioneers. With her sisters, Laura grew up hearing family history told in the stories of her fun-loving father. Laura's first book, Little House in the Big Woods, published in 1932, ensured that her father's stories "would not be lost." By 1869, Laura's parents had the itch to see new territory and for more than ten years continued to move and homestead. By 1880, the family settled for good and became one of the founding families of the town of DeSmet, Dakota Territory. There Laura met her future husband, Almanzo Wilder. Laura and Almanzo moved to Mansfield, Missouri where they found the property which would become their beloved Rocky Ridge Farm and home for the remainder of their lives.

Lanette Hunter-Reginelli has degrees in both liberal arts studies and speech communications with a theatre emphasis. She taught and tutored over a 20-year span, including several years of workshops in readers' theater. Her admiration for Laura Ingalls Wilder began in childhood, enduring and ultimately developing into a portrayal of Laura's character.

Suggested Reading

Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1998.
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Storyteller of the Prairie by Ginger Wadsworth. Lerner Publications Company, 1997.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., 1971.