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“My Life with Will James”, Kim Harris
September 30, 2021 @ 7:00 pm$10
Description: Alice Conradt was just 16 years old when she married 28-year-old Will James, in Reno, Nevada. Alice met James through her brother Fred, not long after James’ sketches appeared on promotional material and posters for the 1919 First Annual Nevada Round-up, known today as the Reno Rodeo.
Prior to meeting Alice, the drifter who called himself “Will James”, had spent time in prison in Carson City, Nevada and worked on several local ranches in Smith Valley and Topaz. Through Alice’s encouragement while living in their cabin at Franktown in Washoe Valley, Nevada, James’ work, which included not only writing but sketching as well, became published in Scribners Magazine in New York. Eventually he wrote several books and published articles and sketches with Sunset Magazine.
Alice Conradt James followed her husband on many adventures; from Nevada to their Rocking R Ranch in Montana, and to Hollywood where James worked as a stunt man. She was also there when James was honored with the Newberry Medal in 1927 for his book “Smoky the Cowhorse”. Their marriage enjoyed many ups and suffered several downs, but they never had a dull moment.
Today Will James’ work is recognized alongside Frederick Remington and Charles Russell. James died in 1942 at the beginning of when America became involved in World War II. His notoriety was never fulfilled until he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1992, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth. Alice’s unfinished memoir “My Life with Will James” is held in the special collections department at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Bio: Kim Harris – Western History ALIVE!
History can be interesting, especially when meeting an actual historical figure in person. Someone who is long gone from this earth. Chautauqua, living history in first person, is a performance based history presentation where an audience can learn about an historical character from the person themselves. That is, from the performer portraying the historical character.
Unlike a character actor or actress simply reciting a script, Chautauquans are essentially historians who research their chosen character’s life, write a monologue to perform the character, endlessly rehearse their presentation and then present the character to a live audience. All the while they stay in character until the very end when questions can be answered by the historian themselves.
Performing as a Chautauquan for over 10 years via her business “Western History ALIVE!”, Kim Harris regularly portrays several local and national historic figures which include Pony Express rider Warren Upson, stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, Genoa and Nevada suffragist Lillian Virgin Finnegan, frontierswoman Calamity Jane and acquitted axe murderess Lizzie Borden.
Kim has also served on the advisory boards of the Lake Tahoe Historical Society, the Douglas County Historical Society and the Friends of Snowshoe Thompson. Presently she is the events manager of Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park in Minden, NV.
Western History ALIVE!’s motto is “History is made every moment, every hour and every day by every one of us. Make our history count, keep it ALIVE!” For more information on Western History ALIVE! check out http://westernhistoryalive.com.
Lecture starts at 7 pm; Doors open at 6:30 pm – Purchase tickets HERE
Tickets are $10
Box Seating – seats up to four (4) people are $80
Cash bar upstairs
Due to current restrictions, the maximum capacity is 250 individuals for this event. Masks must be worn at all times. We appreciate your cooperation so that we can continue to have these small events!