Hailey Public Library takes a look at Annie Pike Greenwood | Arts and events


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Hailey’s Public Library Reflects on Annie Pike Greenwood

Just east of Twin Falls and off of I-84 is an abandoned, crumbling old schoolhouse. Once upon a time, the building was named after legendary Idaho writer Annie Pike Greenwood. People came for Sunday school and civic meetings.

The surrounding farmland was known colloquially as Greenwood. It was part of the local tradition.

Joan Davies, the current owner of the property, who attended this school as a child, lives in Hailey. She was featured in Idaho Public TV producer Marcia Franklin’s documentary on Greenwood.

“One of my big hopes is that somehow making this documentary would also raise the profile of the school and the need to rehabilitate it,” Franklin said.

Franklin will speak about Greenwood’s life and founding work, “We Sagebrush Folks,” at a Zoom meeting hosted by the Hailey Public Library on November 4 at 5:30 pm. Library programs and engagement manager Kristin Fletcher helped bring Franklin from Boise.

“Annie Pike Greenwood’s story is remarkable,” said Fletcher. “She was a woman ahead of her time, writing with wit and honesty on social and political topics, including those which personally affected women in her community.”

Franklin stumbled across “We Sagebrush Folks” in the 1990s after it was reprinted in a paperback. She was captivated by the brutal tale of farm life in south-central Idaho in the early 20th century.

“She really captured the incredible loneliness that occurred in this generation of settlers in Idaho,” Franklin said.

Greenwood addressed topics considered taboo at the time, such as postpartum depression, abuse and child labor. It offered a rare glimpse of the times.

“These are stories that haven’t made it onto the history books,” Franklin said. “But that doesn’t mean these stories aren’t essential to our understanding of our history. It’s always relevant when we can make those other voices heard and give them their due.

Greenwood grew up in a relatively wealthy family. In Utah, she worked as a reporter for a newspaper until she fell in love with a man who wanted to move to Idaho.

“It wasn’t the first wave of settlers that arrived, the ones we always hear about,” Franklin said. “It was the generation of white settlers who were drawn to Idaho by the promise of irrigated land.”

“We Sagebrush Folks” has been out of print for years. Thanks to Franklin’s documentary, a Caldwell publisher will begin to redistribute copies.

“People will soon be able to buy ‘We Sagebrush Folks’ for the first time in a long time,” Franklin said.

Franklin started a relationship with Greenwood’s grandson. He showed her old manuscripts, correspondence and journals not yet given to the archives.

Additionally, after the documentary, several people did the work necessary to include the Old Greenwood School on the National Historic Register, designating it as an Important Place.

The HPL Book Club will also be hosting a discussion on “We Sagebrush Folks” on Tuesday, November 9 at 5:30 pm.

“The virtual discussion will explore this intimate record of a sharp mind and a mind sensitive to joys and sorrows, poverty and personalities who describe the author’s 15 years as a farmer on the last American frontier.” , said Fletcher. ??

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