A RIDE INTO HISTORY
She is leaving her horses at home, but Ann Birney of the Ride into History historical performance touring troupe will bring a saddle with her to Library District #2 of Linn County for a presentation at 6:30 PM in the Swan Room. The Texas Hope saddle will be with Julia Archibald Holmes, who will be quick to tell you that the saddle is just for show. She, you see, walked the greater part of the Santa Fe Trail.
Julia Archibald Holmes is famed as the first woman known to have climbed to the top of Pike’s Peak. To get to the mountain she walked the Santa Fe Trail in 1858 with a wagon train of gold-seekers, including her husband and one of her brothers. She caused quite a stir by wearing a bloomer costume (you know, a bifurcated garment . . . trousers, to be blunt–a short skirt over them, but trousers nonetheless . . . men’s garb . . . scandalous!). Julia wrote of her journey to her mother and to a feminist publication. The letters to her mother were published in the Lawrence (KS) newspaper. Those and other letters by and about Julia have since been published by the Denver Public Library.
Julia Archibald was sixteen in 1854 when her family came to Kansas Territory to prevent the entry of Kansas into the Union as a slave state. The Archibalds were well-acquainted with such radical luminaries as women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony, abolitionist John Brown, and New England educator/abolitionist Eli Thayer. “Bleeding Kansas” was a fitting description for the time, as Julia’s mother saved two of her sons from violent death. .
When the audience meets Julia it will be more than twenty years after the trip. Audience members will probably be surprised at how her life changed over the years.
Described as “energetic,” “lively,” “entertaining,” and “authentic,” Ride into History audiences of all ages have praised Ride’s performances for being both entertaining and educational. Ann Birney, who portrays Julia Anna Archibald Holmes, is an American Studies scholar who researches the history of rural women’s work. Her doctorate is from the University of Kansas. Birney has taken her portrayal of Julia beyond Kansas to Colorado, Virginia, South Dakota, and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. She has received the Kansas Arts Commission Mid-Career Fellowship and been on state and regional arts and humanities rosters. She is also known for her portrayal of Amelia Earhart.
You can still read and count your books until July 28th and the party is July 29th for all those who have participated.