Amateur Historians

Alvin Josephy loved amateur historians. When I opened the Bookloft in Enterprise in 1976, he was still working full time at American Heritage in New York City, writing his big history books and newspaper and magazine articles in the midnight hours. He and his wife, Betty, would come west each summer, she for the summer, he for a few weeks before he went back to the job.

And the Bookloft was always one of his first stops. He would comb the western and local history shelves for new books like 35 Years on Smith Mountain and Hells Canyon of Snake River, make a big stack of them at the counter, and ask about more. Were there new novels, books or pamphlets, diaries, books of letters, anything on the Nez Perce, fishing the Columbia, on Lewis and Clark and the Indians.

He would talk about academic historians missing out on the West because they confined themselves too much to official Read The Article

The “Westerners”

Hello all,

It’s been a while since I posted anything new on the blog. Apologies. Still getting used to this new technology. And I am going to pass on the heavy lifting this time to Jo Tice Bloom and the Western Historical Quarterly for a marvelous little introduction to the “Westerners.” This is interesting to us right now because our new Josephy Library Reading Group will be looking at Alvin’s pieces–and the rebuttal by Francis Haines–on the Appaloosa Horse, which were all published by the New York Westerners in their “Brand Book.” We meet at noon Monday, November 15, at the Fishtrap House to discuss.

Alvin had recieved another version of the Appaloosa story–one that did not credit it as the Nez Perce War Horse–from local author Grace Bartlett and her Nez Perce horseman husband Harry. Alvin was involved with the New York Posse of Westerners, so took their story and his own historical research to the Brand Book in

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