“Chinese in Montana: Our Forgotten Pioneers” with Ellen Baumler

Billings Highlights
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Billings Public Library will host Humanities Montana Speakers Bureau program “Chinese in Montana: Our Forgotten Pioneers” with Ellen Baumler on Thursday, May 30th. The program will be at the Billings Public Library Community Room at 6:00 pm. The presentation is free and open to the public. Funding for the Montana Conversations program is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s Cultural Trust, and private donations.

Chinese pioneers have been neglected in Montana’s written record even though in 1870, they comprised 10 percent of the population. By the 1950s, very few remained. Chinese homes and businesses fell victim to urban renewal programs. Time erased their remote mining and railroad camps. Traces of their culture disappeared, and their stories have become obscured in myth and legend. What happened to these pioneers and where did they go? Baumler explores Montana’s urban and remote Chinese settlements through archaeological sites, artifacts, and rare remaining landmarks. These recall the contributions of Montana’s Chinese and the cultural footprints they left behind.  

Ellen Baumler earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in English, classics, and history. She has been the Montana Historical Society’s interpretive historian since 1992 and is the author of numerous books and dozens of articles on diverse topics.

For additional information, please contact the Library at refdesk@ci.billings.mt.us,  or librarian Jennifer Kruger at 657-8290.

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