January 8, 2019

Revisiting Montana 1889: A Book Group

Join “Revisiting Montana 1889: A Book Group” Facebook Group during 2019

Join us in celebrating the 130th anniversary of Montana's statehood, and become a member of the Revisiting Montana 1889: A Book Group on Facebook throughout 2019. The Montana Historical Society will host this monthly conversation based on Ken Egan’s Montana 1889: Indians, Cowboys, and Miners in the Year of Statehood. Montana is a small town with long streets and we can have a lively exchange of views through social media.

We will revisit important figures out of Montana’s past such as Little Wolf, Granville Stuart, Nannie Alderson, Louis Riel, Mary Gleim, Deaf Bull, and Charlo. We will consider changes to the land and peoples that led up to and followed from Montana statehood.

Starting in January, and continuing each month throughout 2019 following the chapters of his book, Ken Egan, the author, will post prompting questions (such as the ones below) to the group and respond to readers’ comments.

Montana’s original Constitution was approved by voters on Oct. 1, 1889
To begin our journey through 1889, Ken will host an on-site presentation to introduce himself, his book and the Facebook reading club. The event will be held in the auditorium at the Montana Historical Society on January 15, 2019, 3:30-5:00 p.m. We will have livestreaming of it on YouTube and on Facebook Live, in case you are unable to attend the presentation on-site.

Going along on this journey will be MHS Photo Archives Manager Jeff Malcomson as our public-historian-in-residence.  He’ll be suggesting further reading in related areas of Montana and Western history and helping to answer any history-related questions readers may have.

No need to read anything in preparation for this first kick-off presentation; however, if you want to get a jump-start on the reading club, below are some questions to inspire you to consider the overall book. We will discuss these thought-provoking questions one week after the January 15th presentation. 

Getting to Know the Book
a.       Scan the layout and contents of the book. Why would the writer organize the stories by month? Do you find that format appealing? What are the possible pros and cons of this approach?
b.      Sample a few of the epigraphs (quotations) at the start of each month. Where do those excerpts come from? Why has the writer included those passages? (Note that in his previous book, Montana 1864, Egan used excerpts from the Blackfeet calendar to lead each chapter.)
c.       How do the photographs contribute to (or detract from) the stories?
d.      Scan the reference list (bibliography) at the end of book—do any titles call to you?

The January 15th presentation will be filmed on YouTube and Facebook Live and will be available for viewing during the entire year and beyond. The Tuesday following the presentation, on January 22, our Facebook Group will have a Watch Party in our Facebook Group from 1:30 to 2:30 pm to view and react to the presentation. It will be our first official virtual meeting and will give us a chance to get to know one another and begin discussing the book’s themes, figures, events and Ken’s questions in more depth.

Once you are a member of the Group, we will keep you posted about the meetings that will be held throughout the year. We plan to have one each in March, June, September and a wrap-up in December. During each meeting, we hope to include guests who will expound on certain topics in their areas of expertise.
Anaconda's Montana Hotel, built by Marcus Daly with the hope that
our State's seat of government would be in Anaconda.
To explore the chapter topics in more depth, Ken, our host for the entire year, will suggest additional readings, as will Jeff Malcomson. And, please share with us any ideas you may have for further readings!

If you need a copy of Montana 1889, you can purchase it through Riverbend Publishing http://www.riverbendpublishing.com/montana-1889.html 

You can also purchase a copy through the Montana Historical Society’s bookstore here:

Royalties from all book sales support the programs and grants of Humanities Montana.

We look forward to joining you on an adventure through time, that of Montana in 1889!