On Monday, March 31, 2014, Dr. John Fry ’91, history department chair at Trinity Christian College, will be at Geneva College to discuss Almost Pioneers: One Couple's Homesteading Adventure in the West. He will speak in the West Reading Room of McCartney Library at 3 p.m.
Almost Pioneers is a non-fictional memoir edited by Fry and written by Laura Gibson Smith. The book is a “clear, vivid, witty, and self-deprecating memoir … that captures the pioneer spirit of the era and of the building of community against daunting odds.” It was released in 2013, the 100-year anniversary of the Smith family’s homesteading adventure in the West.
Fry edited Smith’s manuscript and wrote an afterword to explain what her experiences reveal about the history of Wyoming, of the American West and of the United States. He also added footnotes to provide historical context and backgrounds of people, places and events.
“The event is to celebrate Dr. Fry joining the "honor roll"—the Geneva Authors' bookshelf that visitors can see on the right hand side as they enter the library,” said Dr. Tom Copeland, Associate Professor of Political Science.
Fry graduated from Geneva with a bachelor’s degree in history and went on to earn two master’s degrees, one in library science at the University of Pittsburgh and another in history at Duquesne University. He later earned a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. Since 2003, Fry has been a professor of History at Trinity Christian College in Illinois and has served as the Department Chair since 2005.
“Dr. Fry is a gifted historian and writer, and I'm excited to welcome him back to Beaver Falls for this public event. A well-told story is the pinnacle of the historian's art, and that is what he is coming to share with us,” said Dr. Copeland.
With his primary field of interest being the American West and rural history, Fry’s first book, The Farm Press, Reform, and Rural Change, 1895-1920 was released in 2005. It discusses what Midwest farmers were reading at the turn of the twentieth century. Fry has presented and published book reviews on a variety of topics including Abraham Lincoln, Henry A. Wallace, the 1950s and western women writers such as Laura Ingalls Wilder.
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