A Biographer On Reading Biographies

As an author of award-winning biographies, I take my craft seriously, and I am fairly critical when I read those written by other people. I recently read three totally different biographies. These particular subjects may or may not appeal to you for summer reading, but you can apply the same principles when choosing subjects of your choice and selecting your biographies this summer. These books all receive my biographer’s nod for excellence. Cecil Smith: Mr.…

Continue reading

Riverside Cemetery Halloween Crawl

Although I’ve spoken and presented programs to about 150 groups up and down Colorado’s Front Range and beyond, I’ve never before portrayed one of my biographical characters. It was a blast! What a great way to really turn back the hands of time and embrace history, and to enjoy the most beautiful fall day imaginable in Denver’s historic boneyard. My subject was Eliza Routt, which was a no-brainer to me as a portrayal. Eliza, the…

Continue reading

Welcome to Yellowstone

Welcome to Yellowstone Reunions are a great way to reach back and touch history, to relive old times, and relate to those who shared it. One of the best times in my life occurred in 1973. I had just finished college and had plans to be married the following year. Little did I realize that spending the following several months living and working in Yellowstone National Park would be so important in my life on…

Continue reading

Next stop: Leadville

As a historic biographer, my focus is writing about pioneer characters, which often takes me to places with a colorful past. When I researched and wrote my award-winning biography, Baby Doe Tabor: Matchless Silver Queen, my search for truth and information about The Tabors and their Matchless Mine took me to the nooks and crannies of Leadville‚Äôs mining district. Interestingly, the fun did not end once the book was published by Filter Press in 2011.…

Continue reading

A World’s Fair in a Contemporary Context

When I saw a copy of Colorado Goes to the Fair for sale recently at a library used book sale, I jumped on it. It’s subject, the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, was certainly focused and specific. The event was a huge cultural phenomenon attended by people from all walks of life and from all over the country, and the world. Although Colorado was spiraling into a deep, dark recession due to a…

Continue reading

What Happens in the Salon …

Midway through February, I will revisit the Denver Woman’s Press Club for some more historic journalism magic. My second visit within a month is part of their salon series. The program is entitled, Almost Famous: Crafting Characters from Colorado’s Past, which will feature myself and fellow DWPC journalist, Kimberly Field. In this program we will discuss several aspects of crafting characters from historical data into biographies. One of the inspirations for the program is my…

Continue reading

Old Faces and New Places

In the early stages of writing a biography, ideas sometimes percolate on the back burner and germinate slowly through the seasons. Ideas grow as the creative cells divide. Sometimes I find myself in a locale that calls to me while I decide my next move. Usually, the place I seek is a cemetery. When I see the final destination of a person’s journey, I can visualize and speculate about the life which brought them there.…

Continue reading

When you lose a friend

The sky was sad and dark the day I learned my friend Gwyn Ramsey died. In fact, the sky made me think her time had come, and sent me to check her Facebook. After all, that is how we often learn personal news these days. I wasn’t surprised, since she was struggling during her eighth round of battle with breast cancer. While I mourned when she entered hospice the week before, I wrote down some…

Continue reading

Life After the Titanic

Before we move on from the Titanic disaster and Margaret “Molly” Brown’s heroic actions as a survivor of that tragedy, it is important to note that her life following that event was full of activism. She must have known as she fought for survival that she still had much to do during the rest of her life. Her immediate concern was for other survivors who lost their belongings and loved ones, and suffered terrible losses…

Continue reading

An Evening with Muffet Brown

In Denver, Colorado, we are fortunate to have access to many fantastic resources of Western history in general, and specialized repositories and museums such as the Molly Brown House Museum. The staff at the Molly Brown House has done their usual magical planning by hosting Muffet Brown for the 100th Anniversary of the RMS Titanic Steamship’s Maiden Voyage and ultimate demise in 1912. Last evening, Margaret Brown’s great granddaughter spoke and answered questions to a…

Continue reading