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American Indian photography is first topic in lecture series; Storch to speak Oct. 5 at Cottonwood

Free Press archives
This postcard from the 1950s shows members of the Nez Perce Tribe near Grangeville.

Free Press archives This postcard from the 1950s shows members of the Nez Perce Tribe near Grangeville.

— October is a month of celebrating history at the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude. Lectures highlighting the history of our region will take place each Thursday in October at 7 p.m. All events are free and light refreshments are provided.

•Oct. 5. “Richard Storch: “Photography of the Nez Perce and Plateau Indians.”

For the past 25 years, Storch has spent hours in libraries, museum archives, and individual collections documenting the little-known work of regional photographers who photographed the Nez Perce and Plateau Indians. His presentation will include an overview of the Plateau Region, a brief history of photography from 1839-1920, a brief photographic history of the American West, and the pioneers’ arrival to Nez Perce country. Richard Storch was born in Omak, Wash., and was raised in Spokane. He received a B.A. in sociology at Washington State University in 1968 and a master’s degree in social work from Portland State University in 1970.

•Oct. 12: “Alex McGregor, “Merchants, Mule Packers, A Rugged Path to Success: The Mullan Road 1860-1883.”

Alex McGregor is the author of “The Mullan Road,” that celebrates the construction of the 624-mile military wagon road built between Fort Walla Walla, Wash., territory, into Northern Idaho and on to Fort Benton, in the future state of Montana. He is president of The McGregor Company and also serves as Managing General Partner of McGregor Land & Livestock, a 135-year-old Eastern Washington family wheat, barley, and livestock ranch. His book, “Counting Sheep,” a history of agriculture in the Inland Northwest, was chosen as one of the top one hundred “centennial books” written since Washington became a state.

•Oct. 19: “Jim and Holly Akenson: “7,003 Days.”

The Akensons’ narrative began in 1982 when the young couple first moved to a log cabin in the back country to manage the Taylor Ranch, the University of Idaho’s wilderness research station. From raging wild fires to working a pack string of mules to tracking wolves and cougars, they tell the story of life in the wilderness. Wildlife biologists by training, Jim and Holly Akenson met while attending Eastern Oregon University. They spent 21 years in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in the rugged Salmon River Mountains of Central Idaho. Holly has also served as a governor-appointed Fish and Wildlife commissioner representing Eastern Oregon and Jim as the stateside conservation director and spokesperson for the Oregon Hunters Association.

•Oct. 26: “Open house: Tour and Presentation of the New Exhibit That Features a Replica of Sister Alfreda’s Attic Museum.”

Sister Mary Alfreda Elsensohn started what is now the Historical Museum at St. Gertrude in the attic of St. Gertrude’s Academy in 1931. During the next nearly 60 years, she earned the distinction of being one of Idaho’s outstanding historians and a pioneer in museum collecting. A new exhibit at the Historical Museum features a replica of Sister Alfreda’s attic. Come take a tour and learn how a museum evolves to better tell the stories represented by the artifacts.

A Q&A session with the presenters follows the lectures. With the exception of the Oct. 26 event, the events are held in the Johanna Room at Spirit Center at the Monastery of St. Gertrude located at 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood.

These events have been made possible and free to the public through a partnership with the Idaho Humanities Council. For information call 208-962-2054 or e-mail


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