Western History Symposium



NOVEMBER 6, 2021

For information on the current year’s Symposium, visit


and check out the recent “Days Past” article:

  “Prescott’s WHS Continues Its Two-Decade Run”

Sally Jacobs: Arizona's First Female Sports Columnist | 9:30 AM

 Speaker: Heidi Osselaer, Ph.D.                                                  

She was a sports columnist for the Arizona Republican, the state’s leading newspaper in 1912. The only problem was that Sally Jacobs knew little about sports, was often confined to the women’s pages, common for the time, and covered ladies’ luncheons and literary clubs. But she quickly expanded her purview to include political commentary, social justice, and even the state’s athletic teams. Despite her sports short-comings, Jacobs was admired for her clever prose that readers loved because it made them laugh, especially her female followers whom she called “fair fanettes.” Jacobs understood the role sports played in the consumer economy that was emerging in modern American society during the 1910s.

Heidi Osselaer earned a doctorate in U.S. history at Arizona State University and has taught at ASU-Tempe, Scottsdale Community College, and Phoenix College. She has authored two books, Winning Their Place: Arizona Women in Politics, and Arizona’s Deadliest Gunfight, as well as numerous articles on Arizona history. Osselaer has served on the Board of the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail, the Arizona History Convention, as well as the Editorial Board of the Journal of Arizona History. She was the 2011 recipient of the Sharlot Hall Award for her “valuable contributions to the understanding and awareness of Arizona and its history.”

Hollywood's Bronze Buckaroo: The Story of Herb Jeffries | 10:30 AM

Speaker: Steve Renzi                                                                           

America’s first and only African-American signing cowboy, Herb Jeffries appeared in movies and on stage for African-American audiences during the 1930s. He could ride, rope and sing with the best of them. This presentation will explore the life and career of Herb Jeffries, the Bronze Buckaroo.

Steve Renzi has maintained the Old West tradition of being an itinerant worker exploring many different career opportunities. Instead of being a cowboy, miner and Indian fighter, however, he has been a basketball coach, landscaper, worked for two weeks in an ice house, delivered lost airline luggage, writer and storyteller. Someday he’ll figure out what he really wants to do.

Hattie Lount Mosher: Fighting for Her Business and Her Life | 1:00 PM

 Speaker: Dr. Mary Melcher                                            

During a time when traditional gender roles dictated that women should be dependent on men, Hattie Lount Mosher was fiercely independent, making all of her own decisions based on her own values. She became an admired businesswoman and well-known figure in Phoenix during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Her fall from financial wealth and societal acceptance, however, was nothing if not spectacular. Living by strong principles and fighting male city officials, she died alone and impoverished.

Mary Melcher, public historian and consultant, completed her Ph.D. in American history at Arizona State University in 1994, with fields in the 20th century, women’s history and the West. She worked at Sharlot Hall Museum as education program director from 2013 to 2017 and earlier as a curator at Arizona Historical Society. She was the lead historian for the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail (AWHT), a public history project combining women’s history with interpretation of historic sites. This statewide project developed driving and walking tours, a traveling exhibit and a website with biographies of over a hundred Arizona women. She has published numerous articles in historical journals and a book, Pregnancy, Motherhood and Choice in Twentieth Century Arizona with the University of Arizona Press in 2012.

"Junior Bonner" - The Legacy of Summer '71 and Film Making in Arizona | 2:00 PM

Speaker: Stuart Rosebrook                      

Screenwriter Jeb Rosebrook‘s screenplay “Junior Bonner” was filmed on location in Prescott and Yavapai County in the summer of 1971. Starring Steve McQueen and released in 1972, “Junior Bonner” has become a cult-classic and was recently named one of the top 100 Western films. In looking back a half-century, what is the legacy of “Junior Bonner” in Prescott, discover why it is considered one of the most important Westerns made in Arizona

Stuart Rosebrook has more than 35 years experience in journalism, publishing, public history, television production and non-profit management. He is currently the editor of True West magazine. Rosebrook is a historian of the American West, U.S. and Public history, and is a published author and accomplished public speaker. He holds a Ph.D. and a masters degree from Arizona State University, after earning a B.A. in history from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Both he and his wife Julie E. Rosebrook, Ph.D., a psychologist with the Veterans Administration, live in Prescott and are the parents of two children.

Grácia Liliana Fernandez: Tempe Normal's (asu) First Professor of Spanish | 3:00 PM

Speaker: Christine Marin, Ph.D.                  

Old Main is the oldest standing building at Arizona State University. In 1885, the Territorial Normal School (that became ASU) was founded and, by 1901, the school library was on the second floor of Old Main. The first Latina librarian, Grácia Liliana Fernandez of St. Johns, was hired in 1907 and, within three years, she became the school’s first professor of Spanish — a Latina teaching Hispanic culture — and was instrumental in students earning teaching-training diplomas in Territorial Arizona

Christine Marin earned her doctorate in history from Arizona State University, and has devoted her professional life to researching, documenting, preserving and sharing the history of Hispanics in Arizona, and highlighting the many contributions they have made to the Territory and to the state. A native of Globe, Arizona and born of immigrant parents from Mexico, she was inspired by them both to “Dream Big!” She helped found the Chicano/a Research Collection and Archives at the Hayden Library at ASU in Tempe, and remains involved in projects that publicize and celebrate ASU’s Latino history, with stories of Hispanic students faculty, staff and Tempe residents who have been integral to ASU’s history. In addition to numerous community and educational awards, Marin is a recipient of the Sharlot Hall Award for her “valuable contributions to the understanding and awareness of Arizona and its history.”

"I Felt the Call and I Must Go!" - Military Wives on the Arizona Frontier | 7:00 PM

Speaker: Jan Cleere                      


When the U.S. Army ordered troops into Arizona Territory to protect and defend the frontier populace, military men often brought their wives and families with them, particularly officers who might be stationed in the West for years. Most of the women were from refined, Eastern-bred families with little knowledge of the territory they were entering. Yet they came to make homes for their families. They learned to cope with the sparseness, heat, sickness and danger, including wildlife they never imagined. They played an important role in civilizing the Arizona frontier.



Jan Cleere is an author, historian, and lecturer. A magna cum laude graduate of ASU with a degree in American Studies and an emphasis on writing, she is the award-winning author of five books and featured in three anthologies. Her monthly column “Western Women” appears in Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star newspaper detailing the lives of Arizona’s early amazing women. The Arizona Newspapers Association honored her for a series of historical profiles written for Phoenix Woman Magazine, and the Nevada Women’s History Project named her to its Roll of Honor for her significant contribution in the preservation of Nevada’s women history. A Roads Scholar with Arizona Humanities, her work appears in national and regional publications.

Previous Western History Symposium Programs