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Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture

The Lewis & Clark Library Foundation honors the memory of the late historian, Stephen E. Ambrose, by hosting this annual lecture each fall.


Stephen Edward Ambrose (January 10, 1936 – October 13, 2002) was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a longtime professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many bestselling volumes of American popular history, including Undaunted Courage (1997) about the Lewis & Clark Expedition. He and his family eventually settled in Helena, MT, where the Ambrose family became devoted patrons of the public library.  His family graciously lent their late father's name to the Foundation's annual lecture.  (Wikipedia)


More info:

The 2023 Stephen Ambrose Memorial Lecture presents Helena-area journalist and writer, Marga Lincoln on Friday, November 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Helena Library’s Large Community Room.  Lincoln will discuss her book, Montana Grit: Ten Unsung Heroes Who Dared to Make a Difference (Farcountry Press, 2023). The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing. Copies of Lincoln’s book will be available for sale.  Events at the Library are always free and open to the public.

Marga Lincoln is a freelance writer and former award-winning education and arts reporter for the Independent Record in Helena. Her passion for highlighting the stories of everyday heroes led to her writing Montana Grit: Ten Unsung Heroes Who Dared to Make a Difference.

With extensive research and firsthand accounts, Lincoln dives into the lives of ten remarkable Montanans who fearlessly fought for justice, leaving an enduring legacy. Through their trials and triumphs, these unsung heroes inspire readers to confront adversity and stand up against injustice.

Lincoln paints a vivid picture of the lives of courageous individuals who reshaped Montana’s history. From Judge Charles Crum, defending free speech during World War I, to chemist Hazel Hunkins, who picketed the White House for women’s voting rights, to accountant Elouise Cobell, who won justice for Native people, Montana Grit showcases the relentless determination of these remarkable and largely unknown figures. This book serves as a source of inspiration and a reminder that one individual’s dedication can shape the course of history.

2023 Ambrose Lecture: Marga Lincoln



2022 - November 3, 2022 - GERRY ROBINSON - The People and Places of The Cheyenne Story: An Interpretation of Courage.  More info:


2021 - December 16 - SCOTT G. HIBBARD - Bringing History Alive: Why I Write Historical Fiction.  More info:  Watch on YouTube.

2019 - October 10 - LORNA MILNE - A Frontier Photographer and a Naturalist: Evelyn and Ewen Cameron.   More info: Watch on YouTube.

2018 - October 23 - JAMIE FORD - Racebending: Adventures in a Bi-cultural World.  More info:  Watch on YouTube

2017 - November 1 - STU WILSON - Fitzgerald in Montana

2016 - September 26 - PAUL R. WYLIE - The Baker Massacre: A Major Tragedy Nearly Lost in History.  More info:

2015 - August 31 - O. ALAN WELTZIEN - Thomas Savage: A First-rate, if Neglected, Montana Novelist and Dillon’s Best Historian.  More info:

2014 - September 23 - RUSSELL ROWLAND - Revising the Western Narrative.  More info:

2013 - August 15 - CHARLOTTE CALDWELL - Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses. 

2012 - October 16 - RUTH McLAUGHLIN - Bound Like Grass.

2011 - October 27 - DOROTHEA SUSAG - Native American Literatures (Welch and Alexie).

2010 - October 5 - HUGH AMBROSE - Behind the World's Most Expensive Mini-series: HBO's The Pacific.  More info:


Helena Civic Television recorded the 2018 and 2019 lectures. They can be viewed on the Foundation's YouTube channel.

Visit the Foundation News page to read about past Ambrose Lectures and other events and activities.


Photo courtesy: Helena Independent Record

Marga Lincoln
author of
Montana Grit:
Ten Unsung 
Who Dared to Ma
ke a Difference

~ ~ ~​
Friday, November 3
6:30 pm
Lewis & Clark Library


Ten Montanans Who Championed What Was Right Against Powerful Odds

Montana Grit examines the life of ten Montanans who each in their own way fought for justice, not only for themselves but for the good of all. Meet Charles Crum and George Bourquin, judges who defended the constitutional right of free speech during World War I. And Hazel Hunkins, a brilliant chemist from Billings who picketed the White House to win the right for women to vote. Here too are Hum Fay, a Butte businessman facing a racist boycott; Helena's Octavia Bridgwater, a pioneering Black nurse; and Elouise Cobell, who demanded, simply, that the U.S. government pay the billions due to tribal landowners. These unsung heroes (and four more) stood against fear and injustice, and their stories remain inspirational today.

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