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Carol Lynn MacGregor


Carol Lynn MacGregor told SATA: "Operating a ranch in Valley County, Idaho, and writing, teaching, and lecturing on the history of the American West occupy much of my time and bring my life good rewards. Add to those time in minding accumulated things and keeping abreast of the various interests of my husband, four of my children and two of his, and our travel. I am never bored.

"My study of history began at Wellesley College and the University of California at Berkeley in the sixties. I majored in European history because I wanted to know what had happened, even though I did better in English and foreign language classes (Spanish and French). Later, as a single mother in the eighties, I returned to school, probing deeper into the thought, writing, and analysis of history. I completed an M.A. in liberal studies at Georgetown University, an M.A. in history at Boise State University, and a Ph.D. in American history at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. Meanwhile, my children finished high school and university studies. Three of them pursued graduate degrees.

"My book, The Journals of Patrick Gass: Member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition began as a master's thesis and languished several years until I found Gass's original account book for years spent in Wellsburg, West Virginia, after the famous expedition. It was still owned by descendants who gave me publication rights. Editing without working for a publisher or newspaper brought 'baptism by fire.' Another new experience was writing for children. I saw that audiences of Idaho fourth graders listened attentively to an interesting nonfiction story, asked good questions, and deserved a book with Native Americans as protagonists. Since I always loved horse stories, the story about how Shoshonis brought horses to the Northwest, Shoshoni Pony, was a natural for me. Its sequel, Lewis and Clark's Bitter-Sweet Crossing, tells the whole story of the expedition, but the centerpiece is the meeting with Sacagawea's people from whom they got horses, crossing the Bitterroot Mountains with their Shoshoni guide, Toby, and returning to Nez Perce country to stay a month next to them on the Clearwater River in 1806.

"The next publication came from an easier beginning, my graduate studies with Dr. Gerald Nash, who asked me to contribute to a festenscrift celebrating his career, along with other colleagues and students. My essay on Boise's cultural life in The American West in 2000 traces Boise's growth from 1950 to 2000, using the thesis that the prosperity of citizens in a relatively isolated area makes Boise unique, bringing cultural amenities beyond expectation for a city its size.

"During the Bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, I was not active as an adjunct professor of history at Boise State University, using my time instead as a lecturer for the Idaho Humanities Council. I have spoken throughout Idaho and also in many other states, including Kansas, Montana, Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota, New Mexico, and West Virginia.

"The future provides time for more adventures, and time to record some of those of my past. It beckons me to prepare my dissertation on Boise from 1882-1910 for publication, to write several more historical articles about our region, and to stretch toward writing a memoir. I look forward to more time to dream, to reflect, and to create."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - PersonalCarol Lynn MacGregor Biography - Personal, Career, Writings, Sidelights - Honors Awards, Work in Progress