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UW Conference Celebrates 125 Years of Wyoming Statehood

May 29, 2015
vintage photo of man and woman on tandem bike
Elmer Lovejoy, owner of a bicycle and novelty company in Laramie, takes a bike ride with his wife in the 1890s. Early bicycling in Wyoming will be among topics discussed during a University of Wyoming conference celebrating 125 years of statehood. Lovejoy is known for building Wyoming’s first automobile. (Elmer Lovejoy Collection, American Heritage Center)

As Wyoming prepares to celebrate its 125th anniversary of statehood, a University of Wyoming conference will examine some of the important historical and cultural legacies that have defined the Equality State since Wyoming Territory officially became the 44th state admitted to the United States on July 10, 1890.

“Our Place in the West … and Beyond: Wyoming at 125” will take place June 11-13 at UW’s Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. The Wyoming State Historical Society (WSHS), UW Libraries, the UW American Heritage Center, the State Historic Preservation Office and the Wyoming Humanities Council are among conference sponsors.

Full registration costs $150 for WSHS members or certified local government representatives, and $175 for others. One-day registration for Thursday, Friday or Saturday is $60 per person. Registration forms, schedules and information about speakers can be found at The registration deadline is Friday, June 5.

“We wanted to present a program that would bring historians, writers, educators, researchers and others together to share perspectives on the Wyoming experience over the past 125 years,” says Tamsen Hert, head of special collections at the UW Libraries and WSHS president. “Many of the individuals who were involved in the state’s 100th anniversary celebration 25 years ago are still around and helped us select a meaningful program for the conference.”

By all accounts, the conference promises to be one of the most comprehensive programs on subjects and events that have shaped the Cowboy State. Sessions will analyze and open for discussion topics including art, women’s influences, homesteaders, crime, cultural geology, historic taverns, early bicycling and religion. The conference also will cover tourism, UW and railroad history, the Heart Mountain Japanese-American relocation camp, agricultural history, Basque sheepherders, Basque culture and an assortment of other subjects.

Among the keynote speakers are Margaret Coel, New York Times best-selling author of the acclaimed Wind River mystery series set among the Arapahos on Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation; acclaimed Union Pacific Railroad historian Maury Klein, nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize; historian and author Michael Amundson, a former UW basketball player known for his works and photographs depicting Wyoming history and places over time; and Linda Jacobs, who has won numerous national awards for fiction writing.

A highlight of the conference will be voting on the 10 most significant artifacts in state history, nominated by museums, historical societies, archives and libraries from across the state.

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