Thursday, December 19, 2019

Robber Baron Gives Laramie’s Library a Home

Carnegie Building in Laramie, home of the Albany County Public Library for 75 years. American Heritage Center, U. Wyoming; date unknown (but note the style of the women's clothing).
[This is my December contribution to the Laramie Boomerang’s “Living History” column. It's not about botany or geology, but something equally important: public libraries. Laramie's first library building was a gift from the man who did so much to establish public libraries in the US—Andrew Carnegie, robber baron turned philanthropist. It served as a library for 75 years, and there still are many residents who remember it fondly. Is there a Carnegie Library in your life?]

On January 22, 1906, some 150 Laramie citizens left winter outside and climbed a flight of heavy oak stairs to the second floor of the new building at the corner of Fourth and Grand. In the warm well-lit lecture room, they listened as civic leaders spoke proudly, eloquently and at length about the Albany County Public Library, now housed in its own building—a gift of one of the wealthiest men in the world, Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie was born in 1835 in Scotland, son of a successful weaver. But when mechanization made his father’s skills obsolete, the family fell into abject poverty. In 1848 they immigrated to Pittsburgh, where Andrew and his father both found jobs in a cotton factory. In just twenty years, Andrew rose from “bobbin boy” at $1.20/week to steel magnate worth $400,000. He went on to become one of the “robber barons” of the Gilded Age—men who made millions by monopolizing rapidly-growing industries.

In 1901, he sold his business for $480 million to banker JP Morgan, who declared Carnegie to be “the richest man in the world.” Carnegie then turned to what he considered a duty of the wealthy—philanthropy on a grand scale. By the time of his death in 1919, he had donated 90% of his fortune.
“Andrew Carnegie in Colors” from Life magazine, April 13, 1905. A month later Life wrote: “no American has ever before given away money for philanthropic purposes on the scale that Mr. Carnegie is doing.” Hathitrust.
Carnegie had no interest in charity, instead supporting projects that helped people help themselves. At the top of his list of worthy causes were universities and libraries—specifically free public libraries, perhaps due to his own experience. As a poor kid in Pittsburg, he couldn’t use the city library because, like so many, it charged membership and lending fees.

During his lifetime, Carnegie contributed to 2500 public libraries in the U.S. and abroad. Most were in smaller communities where they had more impact. He donated specifically for buildings, but only if the library were free to the public, and the community guaranteed annual support and a site free of debt.
In 1902, U.W. Professor Aven Nelson and Albany Co. National Bank Cashier Eli Crumrine discovered they had the same terrific idea—ask Andrew Carnegie to pay for a building for Laramie’s library. For 30+ years it had moved among various private and commercial locations, none of them satisfactory. Carnegie recently had given $50,000 to Cheyenne for a library building, surely he would do the same for Laramie!

They prepared a five-page letter, dated May 2, 1902: “Honored Sir: Your well known desire to help your fellow men by planting libraries here and there throughout the world has reached to the outmost parts of the earth …” [after lengthy accolades they got to the point] “… we earnestly appeal to you for the creation in this city of a $50,000 library building.”

They provided evidence justifying their request. “Laramie is now a city of more than 8,000 people” with all indications of permanency: excellent water and sewerage systems, and a modern fire department. “It is the education center of the state,” site of Wyoming’s only university. As “the center of influence for a large rural population” it benefits twice as many people as in the city itself. The City already has a free public library; in fact, Laramie’s “collection of books is second to none in the state” but is kept in “cramped, unsuitable and uninviting quarters.”

The letter ended with a plea: “Hoping that you may find time to look into the merits of our petition and that we shall soon have the pleasure of receiving from you a communication looking toward the ultimate fulfillment of our earnest desires” [italics added]. But they were overly optimistic.

Months went by. In October they wrote James Bertram, head of Carnegie’s library program. “We are very anxious to know whether the matter has yet been called to the attention of Mr. Carnegie. Thanking you for an early reply …” Still they waited.

The decision arrived January 2, 1903. Bertram’s letter was short. If the community would “maintain a Free Public Library at a cost of not less than Two Thousand Dollars a year and provide a suitable site, Mr. Carnegie will be glad to furnish Twenty Thousand Dollars to erect a Free Public Library for Laramie.”

More than a little disappointed, Nelson and Crumrine fired off another letter: “Deeply grateful for the worthy beneficence you accord to our city, we yet venture to beg … you to do still more generously by us.” They dropped their request from $50,000 to $40,000, but not before mentioning Carnegie’s more generous gift to Cheyenne.

Bertram wrote back explaining that new rules required communities to provide annual funding at a rate of 10% of the gift. Laramie had promised $2000 annually, therefore they would receive $20,000 for the building. This still was a generous offer (about $600,000 today), and one they couldn’t refuse.

On February 26, 1903, citizens filled the County Courthouse, eager to learn if there would be a Carnegie Library in Laramie. A resolution to accept Carnegie’s offer of $20,000 was presented. The County would need to raise $2000 annually for support, requiring a tax increase of about 50¢ on each $1000. This didn’t dampen the obvious enthusiasm in the room.

W.H. Holliday, representing Laramie businessmen, endorsed the resolution, as did University President Smiley, who hoped the library and possibly a game room would “counteract the bad influences of some other places upon the students.” Mrs. [Mary] Bellamy stated that the Woman’s Club favored accepting Carnegie’s offer, and added that girls “read two thirds more than boys and the library would be of more benefit to them.”

A vote was called. After the resolution passed almost unanimously, the County Commissioners appointed a Library Building Commission composed of Crumrine, Nelson, and W.H. Holliday. It was agreed that the City would purchase a site to donate to the County, preferably near the courthouse so that if interest in the library waned, Carnegie’s building could be used as a jail.

The City purchased a lot at Fourth and Grand from “Grandma Black” who owned a rooming house there. At $2500, it was a bargain. After the property was duly transferred to the County, Aven Nelson drew and circulated a sketch of the desired building. New York architect Henry D. Whitfield’s plan was chosen. He said it could be built for less than $20,000, even at New York prices, which were 25% higher than in Laramie. Thus assured, the Building Commission put the project out for bid.

On August 11, 1903, a Boomerang headline announced the bad news: “Lowest Bids Amount to Far More Than Sum Donated.” In fact, total cost would exceed Carnegie’s gift by $10,000! The Building Commissioners contacted Whitfield, who sent a revised plan. Bids were again solicited.

Two months later, the Boomerang had good news: “Something definite has been accomplished at last, in regard to the building of the Carnegie library—the contract has been let.” The three bids were remarkably close, ranging from $18,250 to $18,770 total. Also remarkably, the lowest bid was submitted by W.H. Holliday, President of the Building Commission. He got the contract.

Construction was completed two years later at a cost of $20,077 (Crumrine paid the $77 overage). Furnishings were not included, so a “Library Fair” was held featuring a play, baby show, supper with an “overwhelming menu” for 25¢, and a formal ball following a grand march led by “King” Edward Ivinson. Well-attended, the event raised $825.20.
On January 24, 1906, the front page of the Boomerang was devoted to the Carnegie Library dedication ceremony two days earlier. “The spacious auditorium was crowded to its limit with the representatives of the intelligent citizens of Laramie. The addresses of the different able speakers were received with great pleasure, not only for their oratorical value, but for the multitude of good common sense statements …”

The ceremony began with a “musical treat” by Graeppe’s orchestra, followed by “a very eloquent and heartfelt prayer” by Reverend R.A. Lansdell. The main address—History of the Carnegie Library Building—was delivered by Aven Nelson. Several prominent citizens then spoke more briefly.

The popular song “Daddy” was artistically rendered by the well-known (in Laramie) singer Mrs. Trumbull, ably accompanied by Miss Laura Lee. The Boomerang reported that “her beautiful contralto voice was never before heard to a greater advantage … clear and sweet and what made it more pleasing was her perfect enunciation.” But she refused the call for an encore.

Bishop Keane then spoke, stressing that citizens “should never give a poor book or indifferent book to the library.” That way the quality of the holdings would be maintained. But the bishop was not without wit. “All good works were done on the heights,” he said, “and Laramie is high.”

After an original poem read by Judge Groesbeck and a few remarks from the audience, W.H. Holliday presented the library keys to County Commissioner Nellis Corthell, who, after accepting them, said the library did not need keys. So Mr. Holliday received them back.

Most Carnegie libraries were successful, and often outgrew their buildings. Some were expanded, but many were torn down or repurposed. The Albany County Public Library moved to its current location at 310 S. 8th St. in 1981. Fortunately the Carnegie Building was not demolished, nor did it become a jail as some had contemplated in 1903. It now houses City offices. But the spirit of the old library still resides in the entryway, in the form of an exhibit about Carnegie and his contribution to our community. The original “bronze medallion of our benefactor” looks down from a wall near the reception desk.

Andrew Carnegie; source.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Tree-following: Thinking Ahead

I’m finishing this year’s tree-following by making plans for next year. Which tree should I follow? The Number One Candidate right now is a tree I spotted in October during my monthly visit to 2019's hawthorns. It grows near the west end of the Art Building.
It had such colorful leaves! Of course those leaves are gone now, so on my recent visit I took along the October photo. That way I would know which tree to introduce myself to.

It was cold, windy and getting dark at 4:30. I left my trusty field assistant behind after assuring her she would prefer the warmer cab of the truck.
En route to the west end of the building, I visited briefly with the pair of hawthorns I followed this year. They still had haws, but quite shriveled. I sampled one; it had the texture of fruit leather and just a hint of flavor.
With the photo I easily relocated the tree of interest. While I struggled to take a clever photo of print and tree in the wind, several people walked by and smiled. Of course they smiled—being artists, they wouldn't think that what I was doing was the least bit odd.
Assured I had the right tree, I approached it. “Hello, I’m Hollis. What’s your name?” It mimed a response, with branches, leaves and fruit. But I didn’t fully understand.

The branching was opposite (hard to see in wind, sorry):
Leaves had mostly serrated margins and pinnate veins—at least that's what I thought (mystery ahead). The second photo is a zoom from the October shot, click on it for a slightly better view:
There were many clusters of pedicels but only a few with fruit ... which happen to be keys or samaras, doubled like those of maples!
Are you surprised too? These are strange leaves for maples, especially the pinnate venation. Maybe I need to expand my concept of the Aceraceae. Learning awaits.

The other reason for choosing this tree is that it grows next to the Art Building which offers a bright warm whimsical refuge on cold, windy and/or snowy days, or when the mosquitos are bad. Currently there are several new exhibits, including one under construction. But I headed straight to the This and That Galleries because this month both have exhibits featuring plants!
In This I found “Plains Placement”—an exhibition of prints by Ben Nathan. They were made from copper plates etched with leaf designs. Colors were overlaid, and sometimes effects added with a piece of grass with black ink. These works are all in response to a "prompt"—experience in the West.

I was surprised when I walked into That. Flower photos, illustrations and even scientific literature (!) hung on the walls. On a small table lay an explanation by Rebecca Austin and Erin Bentley—artist and scientist. One “needs only look at the field notebooks … to see that when people seek to understand the natural world, they often turn to artistic endeavors … we would like to show that these fields are inherently, if not always obviously, connected.”
For this beautiful illustration of Actaea rubra, they chose Alice Bacon’s 1903 paper Experiment with the Fruit of Red Baneberry “because it was funny.” So of course I had to read more. Turns out Alice performed the experiment on herself! Fortunately she survived, and duly reported her findings.
“Then suddenly the mind became confused and there was a total disability to recollect anything distinctly or arrange ideas with any coherency. On an attempt to talk, wrong names were given to objects, and although at the same time the mind knew mistakes were made in speech, the words seemed to utter themselves independently.”
She experienced pain in many parts of the body. Perhaps scariest of all “the heart fluttered most unpleasantly.” After three hours she was fully recovered but “The experiment was carried no further, as the effects in heart and brain were danger signals not to be ignored.” (I didn't find the funny part.)

Join us! It’s easy, it’s fun, there's no pressure. More information here and here.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Tasty Haws on Leafless Trees

Poplars at the Visual and Literary Arts building, University of Wyoming.
This year our fall colors include lots of pale browns, especially on poplars and cottonwoods. These are leaves that died and dried on the tree. The cottonwoods in my yard are still half-covered in dead leaves. Of course they're impossible to rake, and unfortunately our green waste pickup service ends this week.

But the trees I’m following—a pair of hawthorns next to the Visual and Literary Arts building—are all but bare. Last month they were covered in dull green leaves (and some rust-colored ones). I don’t know if they turned brown before or after falling, but in any case, the trees went from leafy to leafless in less than a month.
Early October.
Early November.
With no leaves it was easy to see the haws, which were wrinkled and shriveled. I suspect the hard frosts a few weeks ago are to blame. Actually “hard” is a gross understatement. We were hit by a blast of arctic air and suddenly it was winter—in mid-October! One day the high was 4º F (-16º C), and early the next morning we had a low of -15º (-26º). Fortunately, beautiful fall days have returned, with highs in the low 50s F.

Last month, several readers suggested I harvest haws and make jam or syrup. It probably would have worked out—with enough sugar and someone besides me as cook. So it didn't happen. But I did eat a handful of shriveled haws, straight off the trees.
All hawthorns (Crataegus spp.) produce 'edible' berries, i.e., not toxic (as long as you spit out the seeds, which contain cyanide). But the berries of many species are bland at best. So it was a nice surprise to find the haws on these trees were relatively tasty. They were mealy, but slightly sweet and with a nice flavor. Maybe shriveling up with the hard frosts concentrated sugars and tasty compounds … ?

Why are there rose hips in this post? Because we love color this time of year! These are for Lucy, the original Tree Follower.

After waving to the Woman at the Entrance, who was of two minds that day, I entered the building for my monthly art fix. The main gallery was closed but no matter—the This and That Gallery was open, with new exhibits.

This featured Alexandria Pawlow's Song & Dance:
Decorated skulls by Sophia Spicer—Skull Candy—were on display in That:

This is my contribution to the monthly virtual gathering of tree-followers, kindly hosted by The Squirrel Basket. As the year draws to a close—just one more report on these hawthorns—I've started thinking about a tree to follow in 2020. It's a good time to join in the fun!—more information here.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Botany Students in Yellowstone, 1899 – Adventure & Misadventure

Student Leslie Goodding stands between Mrs. Nelson and her daughters. Stacks of felt sheets on the wagon and metal vascula on the ground attest to their mission in Yellowstone.

On June 13, 1899, two young men hopped off a freight train in Monida, Montana, then the western gateway of Yellowstone National Park. They were poor, but hardly drifters. Elias Nelson and Leslie Goodding were students from the University of Wyoming, accompanying a large load of freight shipped free of charge by the Union Pacific Railroad.

They unloaded three horses, a state-of-the-art wagon with spring seats, a large canvas tent, ample bedding, a sheet iron wood stove, a large table with detachable legs, fishing gear, six plant presses, and thousands of sheets of white paper and felt. Two days later, their mentor arrived by passenger train—Professor Aven Nelson (no relation to Elias) with his wife Celia Alice and young daughters, ages 8 and 13. On June 17, the six departed for Yellowstone to collect plants. Fourteen weeks later, five returned.
Leslie Goodding drives, Mrs. Nelson and girls on seat behind—but where’s Elias?!

Yellowstone was designated the nation’s first national park in 1872, and by 1899, was a popular tourist destination—but only for the well-to-do. Commercial tours by stagecoach, generally the only way to visit, were too expensive for most people. Yet Professor Nelson (annual salary $1800) spent 14 weeks in the Park with his family and students, traveling and camping on their own, and collecting plants. Furthermore, they returned with 30,000 specimens—quite an accomplishment for an accidental botanist!

Nelson had come to Laramie in 1887 to teach English at the brand new University of Wyoming (UW). But because the Trustees somehow hired two English professors, out of just six faculty total, Nelson agreed to teach biology (his schooling had included lectures on plants and a teaching assistantship in biology). Nelson’s focus soon narrowed to botany, launching a long and successful career.

Like any respectable botany program, UW’s included an herbarium—a collection of dried plants which served as a resource for identification and study. But with just 1500 specimens, it was much too small for Nelson’s ambitions. He came up with a plan to greatly expand the herbarium and gain international recognition: he would collect plants in world-famous Yellowstone National Park!

In early January, 1899, Nelson wrote to the Acting Superintendent of the Park and Captain of the 1st Cavalry (Yellowstone was overseen by the military at that time) requesting permission for an extended trip as a private party, to collect plants “to represent the vegetation of the Park in full.” Remarkably, an affirmative reply arrived just a few weeks later.

Nelson’s plans were grand. He would collect not just single specimens of the various species, but also thousands of duplicates to sell or exchange with other collectors and institutions. However, this was far more than a single botanist could accomplish, even with his family’s assistance.

Fortunately, Professor Nelson had a graduate student whom he greatly admired: Elias Nelson (“Elias” used here to avoid confusion with Professor Nelson). Elias was from Douglas, Wyoming, part of a family of Swedish immigrants. He entered as an undergraduate in 1894, and though he had to work to support himself, he finished in four years. In the fall of 1898, Elias became Professor Nelson’s first graduate student.

Professor Nelson also announced that he was seeking an undergraduate to serve as “chore boy” on the trip. Word of a chance to see Yellowstone quickly spread across campus. The lucky hire was Leslie Goodding, much to his surprise. Many juniors and seniors had applied, and Leslie was just a freshman—in fact, barely that. He would start at UW in the fall.

Goodding grew up in the tiny town of Granite, 30 miles east of Laramie, raised mainly by his grandparents. As he recounted many years later: “My country schooling left me handicapped … My speech was full of ain’ts, won’ts, has wents and the like. I was wholly lacking in courtesy and social polish.” Yet he attended Prep School, where UW professors taught college-bound students, and must have impressed his biology teacher, for Professor Nelson chose him for the Yellowstone job—at $10 per month and all expenses paid.

The Nelson expedition left Monida via the road east to Yellowstone. Four days out, the wagon became so badly mired in mud that it had to be unloaded before the horses could pull it free. After reaching the Park, they set up camp on the Madison River, intending to devote the next day to processing plant collections. But around midday, a soldier on patrol discovered them. He pressed lead plugs into their rifles, sealing them for the duration of their time in the Park, and directed Professor Nelson to go to Mammoth for his permit before doing any more collecting—a 46-mile, two-day detour.

Once their paperwork was in order, they settled into a routine. Most days they broke camp early, and collected plants until late afternoon. Then they looked for a campsite. They were free to camp almost anywhere, choosing sites with firewood, water, grass for the horses, and a flat spot for the tent. Though the tent was large enough for six, “the boys” usually slept outside, “under the vaulted star-studded skies” (Professor Nelson’s words).
One day's catch.
Elias and Leslie became adept at supplementing the expedition’s diet of preserved food. The streams and lakes teemed with large fish—so large that they broke the only line available. But as Leslie would write many years later, “Elias got the idea. He stood on the bank and when one of those big fellows came along he deftly threw the chisel he used for digging plants right through him.” Leslie quickly joined in; fortunately “the soldiers did not catch us at it or it might have gone poorly with us.”

When the weather was fine, the party dined outside. A photo taken by Professor Nelson shows his family and students seated at a table covered with a printed tablecloth, in a large meadow with snowy peaks in the distance. Two pots of water sit on the stove nearby. Mid-photo, prominently displayed leaning against the table, is a plant press filled to capacity.
Nelson party dining al fresco in Yellowstone National Park, 1899.

Elias and Leslie spent most of their time in Yellowstone botanizing. During the day, they drove the roads, stopping at promising sites. The men went out to collect, each with a vasculum—an oblong metal canister with a leather shoulder strap. Most plants were collected in their entirety, including roots, and cleaned of dirt before being placed in the vasculum. For larger species, they collected representative parts—a section of the stem with leaves, a good number of flowers, and fruit if available.
Aven Nelson vasculum and field books, courtesy Rocky Mountain Herbarium (Marriott photo).
As soon as the tent was pitched and materials unloaded, they went to work processing specimens. Plants were cleaned of dirt, and arranged between 12” x 16” sheets of white paper. These were added to a growing stack, alternating with blotters (sheets of felt) to absorb moisture. Finally, the stack was tightly bound between wooden covers, completing the plant press.

Presses were checked daily, with dried specimens removed and damp blotters replaced. Though Professor Nelson had brought along several thousand reusable blotters, keeping enough dry was a challenge. Ideally they were spread on the ground to dry in the sun. But when it rained, presses and blotters were arranged around the stove inside the tent, while everyone gathered wood to keep a fire going all day.

On July 26, Elias and Leslie were collecting at the popular Artist Paint Pots—curious steaming vents in brightly colored clays. Visitors were emphatically warned not to leave established paths “as the treacherous character of this formation renders it quite unsafe” (1894 Park Guide). Sure enough, when Elias stepped just a few feet off the path, one leg sank into hot mud. He jumped to higher ground, and pulled off his shoe and sock, tearing a large patch of skin from his ankle. A huge blister extended along his leg.

Leslie ran to camp, saddled a horse, and raced back to retrieve Elias. Mrs. Nelson sprinkled his burn with soda and bandaged it, finishing with a layer of flour. She redressed it twice a day until they happened to meet a Dr. Irish, who examined the burn and declared it serious. Elias was driven to Madison and put on the stage to Monida to catch the train home—“all broken up over leaving” (Mrs. Nelson’s words).
Nelson family and a retired Park caretaker stand next to a geyser vent. Rules were a bit more lax in 1899.

They worked for six more weeks after Elias’s departure. But summer was winding down. In early August, it rained for a week. Snow arrived August 19. By the end of the month, they were ready to go home.

Shortly after returning to UW, Professor Nelson successfully campaigned for official recognition of his burgeoning plant collection. The Board of Trustees established the Rocky Mountain Herbarium (RM), with Nelson as Curator. Just as he had envisioned, the RM grew to be recognized internationally. With 990,000 specimens at last count, it is the tenth largest herbarium in the United States.

Recovered from his burn, Elias worked in the Herbarium that fall. While he was studying North American phloxes for his Master’s thesis, he also processed the 30,000 Yellowstone collections. Specimens for the RM were mounted on herbarium paper using cloth tape, and labels with collection information were added. Unmounted duplicates were shipped across the US and Europe, and even as far away as Calcutta (Kolcata), India. They were sold to raise funds for fieldwork, or exchanged for specimens to add to the RM.

“Chore boy” Leslie Goodding also graduated in botany from UW. He settled in Arizona, becoming an expert on the flora of the American Southwest. Sixty years later, his excitement at being chosen for the Yellowstone trip was still fresh in his mind:
“A botanical expedition of vast importance was planned for the following summer—three or four months in Yellowstone Park collecting plants … this was in the days when autos were like hen’s teeth and trips through the Park by stage were expensive. … Dr. Nelson detained me and asked if I could accompany him on the trip … Without ado and without consulting my father I assured the doctor that I could.” (from “Autobiography of the Desert Mouse,” San Pedro Valley News, 1958)
Surrounded by felt blotters, Leslie Goodding checks a plant press near the end of the expedition. By this time the soles of his shoes are largely gone, the midsoles fastened to the welts with hand stitching.


Williams, RL. 1984. Aven Nelson of Wyoming. Colorado Associated University Press, Boulder, Colorado, USA. Chapter 5.

Marriott, HJ. 2018. Botanical Adventures in Yellowstone, 1899. Yellowstone Science 26 (1).

This story will appear as an article in the Laramie Boomerang on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Additional photos are included here. Unless noted, all photos are from the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center, Aven Nelson Collection.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Treefollowing, Literary Art & Wyoming Coal

Treefollowing on a cold windy day—note bundled-up photographer reflected in window.
Back in March, I decided to follow a pair of hawthorns growing next to the building that houses the Department of Visual and Literary Arts at the University of Wyoming. By July, I had concluded these most likely were Russian Hawthorns, Crataegus ambigua, following suggestions of several readers; also, Russian Hawthorn cultivars are popular in Wyoming. But I still haven’t checked with the University landscaping folks for confirmation.

Despite the severe cold last week (low of 0º F, -18º C), my hawthorns were covered in leaves—a mix of dull green and several shades of reddish brown.
With their haws fully ripe, these trees revealed that they are more productive than I had thought. But they still are slackers compared with their fecund neighbors!
Above and below: my hawthorns.
Above and below: neighboring hawthorns loaded with ripe haws.
One reason I chose these hawthorns over several other candidate trees on campus was their proximity to the Arts building—a pleasant and interesting place to duck out of the wind, cold, rain, etc. There are several galleries, display cases in the lobby, and works of art scattered through and outside of the building. Not knowing much about art, I've enjoyed expanding my horizons.

The inclusion of literary art intrigued me. When I first visited, I assumed this piece on display in the lobby was an example:
Literary art?
Or perhaps the works currently in the main gallery—Joanne Kluba’s Artist Books:
L’Atlantide, Artist Book; Joanne Kluba, 2003.
Mindfullness, Artist Book; Joanne Kluba, 2006.

But no. Literary Art refers to creative writing, which was transferred from the English Department just recently. This is where Wyoming coal comes in.

Wyoming’s economy is being hit hard with the decline of coal, a major source of state income. Multiple big mines have closed, their companies now in bankruptcy, including Peabody Energy—made famous in John Prine’s Paradise.
As a result, the University of Wyoming has cut and reorganized programs. Though the English Department still exists, creative writing was put in Visual Arts—no idea why. At least it wasn't eliminated, as was poetry.
Departmental sign not yet updated.

This is my contribution to the monthly virtual gathering of treefollowers, kindly hosted by The Squirrel Basket. Consider joining us! It's always interesting and fun—and no pressure :)