Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands Book Donation


decorative image featuring several images and text that reads Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands Book Donation

Maggie Miller, of Grindstone Cattle Company in Daniel, Wyoming, recently donated a copy of "Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands" by Matilda Essig to the UW Libraries’ Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections, honoring her late husband, James Mickelson Miller of Big Piney, Wyoming. 

Miller studied at UW and this volume bears a heartfelt dedication in his memory.

Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands page with the dedication to James Mickelson Miller
Dedication to James Mickelson Miller from the copy of "Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands" by Matilda Essig donated by Maggie Miller to UW Libraries’ Emmet D. Chisum Special Collections

The artwork of grasses contained in this book evoke a story reminiscent of the people of Wyoming -- one of adaptation and resilience.

Each of the twelve fine art prints print captures the essence of the San Rafael Valley region's shortgrass prairie, which is the southwestern most intact stand of shortgrass prairie remaining today. This wild grassland ecosystem, left untouched by cultivation, holds immense significance from a stewardship perspective.

Essig, the artist, says the frontispiece of a rancher riding among the prairie grass is an invitation to come, explore and see this natural habitat. She hopes that the large format of images will allow people to discover that the variation of grasses mimics the variation in humanity.

A close up of one of the grasses featured
A close up view of one of the grasses featured in the "Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands" by Matilda Essig taken in the Emmet D. Chisum Special Collections Reading Room

This limited-edition artist's book, one of only 30 copies, finds a home in our collection alongside just three other esteemed institutions -- The University of Arizona, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and UCLA’s Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library.

Cataloging such a unique and rare book requires meticulous attention from our dedicated team. Our catalogers examined the book carefully to ensure its many details were captured and accurately recorded. Numerous library employees slowly and safely leafed through the unbound pages to confirm the contents matched the catalog record.

Amanda Bugbee processing the book donation in Special Collections
Amanda Bugbee, Library Specialist, catalogs "Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands" by Matilda Essig for UW Libraries Special Collections

While all titles in our general collection receive individual barcodes, adhering to rare book cataloging standards, we opted to preserve the book's integrity by affixing the barcode to archival-grade paper to be kept with the book, ensuring the book remains safely stored.

We're thrilled to add this artist's book to our collection and invite all to visit the Emmett D. Chisum Special Collections reading room to experience its beauty firsthand and contemplate the native grasses of the prairie.

people looking at the book Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands in Special Collections
UW Libraries employees examine the new addition to Special Collections

For more information about the artist, please visit:

Website: Matilda Essig
Instagram: @matilda_essig_studio
Facebook: Matilda Essig Studio

If you are interested in donating Wyomingana-related books to our Special Collections, please see our Gift Policy.

University of Wyoming Libraries

Dept. 3334

1000 E. University Ave. 

Laramie, WY 82071

(307) 766-3190

(800) 442-6757

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