Local authors topic at Front Porch Chat on July 31On July 31, Bruce Berg and Laurel Woiwode presented an overview of some of the past or current residents of the Jamestown community that have published novels, biographies, children’s books and compilations over the years.
On July 31, Bruce Berg and Laurel Woiwode presented an overview of some of the past or current residents of the Jamestown community that have published novels, biographies, children’s books and compilations over the years.
More than 25 authors and some of their works were presented in the short program, one in the series of Front Porch Chats at the Stutsman County Memorial Museum.
Two of the more famous authors that have a link to Jamestown are Louis L’Amour, author of more than 300 western novels and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Maxwell Anderson. Although Anderson is not as well known in Jamestown, he was famous on a national and international basis.
L’Amour had a sister that was also a published author, Edna LaMoore Waldo. She was older than Louis and always considered herself the real writer in the family.
Reese Hawkins, a former Jamestown businessman and personal friend of L’Amour, has also published a book on his memories of the great author.
Another of the early writers that called Jamestown home was Kate Glaspell. Her book “Incidents in the Life of a Pioneer,” told of life in early Jamestown. One of her stories related that most of the time, all social events ended at about 9 p.m. However, they started a dancing club, the QAM (Quit At Midnight) Club to extend their fun.
Gordon Webber, a 1933 graduate of Jamestown College, wrote a novel entitled “The Great Buffalo Hotel,” which was loosely based on life in Jamestown, with the hotel being the original Gladstone Hotel and the buffalo references to the concrete one at Frontier Village.
It is an entertaining book although it was related with a bit of eastern snobbery. The college faculty, Mark Joy, Larry Woiwode, Gary Watts, and the late William Laskowski, have authored many novels, biographies and scholarly articles over the years.
Barend Kroeze, long time president of Jamestown College was an accomplished author in addition to his other duties. Other members of this group include, Marion Jackson, Jim Edwards and John Milton, who wrote “Notes to a Bald Buffalo.”
Harvey Sletten, a former teacher in Jamestown and Carrington, authored several novels. Shirley Nitschke, the author of the popular “Heimat” novels has based these local favorites on the Germans from Russia heritage. Keith Norman, local historian and author has produced a series of books on “Great Stories of the Great Plains.”
Norman is also a member of another group of contributors to Jamestown’s list of authors, those affiliated with the local newspapers. The earliest of these was William Ross Kellogg, owner and editor of the Jamestown Alert, who wrote “Sight Seeing on the Seven Seas,” and Sam Lowe the author of “If I had an Elephant,” a collection of stories he wrote for the Arizona Republic newspaper after leaving his employment at The Jamestown Sun. It seems that when it snowed on May 15th one year it was more than he could tolerate.
The other broad category that was discussed was children’s literature.
Several authors from the area have written children’s books, the most famous being Barbara McClintock who has written the “Adele & Simon” series. Loretta Jung, a former Jamestown teacher, has written several books on Crystalene, The Rainbow Snow Girl. Other local children’s works include Brenda Ehrmantraut’s “Night Catch,” Arnie Kuhn’s “Freckles the Frog and the Magic Leaf,” and Sean Kollman’s “Timmy the Fish.”
Berg and Woiwode concluded their presentation with a discussion of the several collaborations that have resulted in books with local connections. The “Century of Stories” book that was done for the Jamestown and Stutsman County Centennial in 1983 was a collection of stories of our heritage by principle authors, James Smorada and Lois Forrest, with contributions by Mary Young and other local historians. The other collaboration was by Bruce Berg, Terry Anderson and Myra Watts. It is entitled “Pull Up a Chair,” and is a collection of short stories ranging from serious to humorous.
The Aug. 7 Front Porch Chat will feature Tom Schutt, a local artisan, who will demonstrate the methods used to make arrowheads, a process called flint knapping.
The annual Ice Cream Social is on Aug. 14 from 2 to 4 p.m.