A Novel Idea: Making A Life on the “Last Frontier”

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  4/15/2013

Bob BoydHomesteading took a lot of courage, specific skills and a little luck. Carving a life out of the unsettled wilds of our country has largely defined the American experience. Learn about making a life on the “last frontier” at the Redmond and Downtown Bend Public Libraries as part of the 2013 A Novel Idea community-wide reading program. Bob Boyd, local history guru extraordinaire, leads both presentations.

April 16, 2013 • 6:00 p.m.
Redmond Public Library

April 30, 2013 • 6:00 p.m.
Downtown Bend Public Library

Boyd, a Social Studies teacher in the Bend La-Pine School District, says that very little changed over the years regarding the skills and tools necessary for survival on the frontiers of America. “Living at the turn of the century in the Alaska wilderness was similar to the nation’s previous frontiers stretching back across the centuries,” says Boyd. During his presentation Boyd will use artifacts from the era to illustrate the similarities of all homesteading.

Boyd has served in California and Oregon public schools for over 40 years. Concurrent with his teaching career Bob served for 25 years as the Curator of Western History at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. He has recently retired from the Museum. During his tenure at the Museum he was instrumental in creating and presenting diverse collections of cultural history stories from the High Desert region. Included among these exhibits were: Gum San – Land of the Golden Mountain, a history of the Chinese experience in the Far West, Amerikanuak! Basques in the High Desert, Buckaroo – The Hispanic Heritage of the High Desert, Far West Ambitions – The Legacy of Lewis and Clark, and Sin in the Sagebrush, a view of life in the High Desert beyond civility and the accepted standards of the 19th century America. He has served on the Oregon Historic Preservation Committee, in 2012 was recognized with the Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.

The 2013 “A Novel Idea” selection The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, takes place in Alaska during the 1920s as a couple homesteads an impossible land. Ivey carries the reader through the stark Alaska landscape without apology, threading the story together with a magical realism and hopeful persistence. Dozens of events between April 13 and May 4 invite residents of Deschutes County to explore the Alaska landscape, homesteading, art, food and more, culminating with a visit by author Ivey on May 3 and 4.

For more information about this or other library programs, please visit the library website at People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Liz at 312-1032.

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