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NWC News Desk

Glenda Bell talks about "Researching Calamity Jane" Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Northwest College

Posted September 5, 2013
By NWC News Desk

POWELL, Wyo. - Glenda Bell will untangle the myth from the history of one of America’s iconic frontierswoman in a Tuesday, Sept. 17, presentation titled “Researching Calamity Jane.”

The public is invited to watch Bell’s guest lecture to the NWC class “Women in the West.” Her free talk begins at 6:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Moyer Building at Northwest College.

A retired librarian, Bell spent 25 years researching Martha Jane Canary, better known as Calamity Jane.

“Trying to find factual information about Calamity Jane was like trying to find hen’s teeth,” Bell told the Powell Tribune in 2008. Because Calamity lived most of her life on the edge of the frontier, verifiable details from her life are hard to find.

“Calamity went into britches early,” Bell told the Tribune. “That’s actually what made her famous. She put on a pair of britches and marched into the male culture without asking for permission.”

Calamity Jane lived from somewhere around 1848-1903. During her 50-some years, she tried her hand at scouting, gambling, prostitution, cooking, storytelling and more. She even performed in Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West Show” for a short time.

In addition to her research, Bell, a Powell resident and University of Wyoming graduate, brought Calamity Jane to life onstage in thousands of educational performances.

For more information about Bell’s Sept. 17 presentation, email or call Amy McKinney, NWC assistant professor of history, at 307-754-6008.

“Researching Calamity Jane” is presented by the Wyoming Humanities Council as part of its Humanities Forum. The Wyoming Humanities Council provides public humanities-based programs in partnership with local organizations and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.