Year after year in the late 1800s Moscow residents were dying of typhoid.
A sewer system was proposed by a local doctor as typhoid is a bacterial disease spread by fecal matter in the water. A rival doctor objected to the taxes this would levy against his substantial real estate holdings.
Women in the community didnt have the right to vote. Instead they could only work to convince the men of the good the project would bring.
The story plays out in historical fiction in the novel Buffalo Coat by Carol Ryrie Brink, who used events that took place between 1885-1902 involving her grandfather, a buffalo coat-wearing doctor. Its the first book in the Lets Talk About It book discussion series starting Tuesday in Moscow. The series theme is Idaho at 150 Sesquicentennial Days and the five books chosen offer different views of early life and challenges people faced in the territory and state.
All these books present different parts of that mosaic of Idaho history, says Chris Sokol of the Moscow Public Library, which is collaborating with the University of Idaho Library for the series. The Idaho Commission for Libraries provides the libraries with multiple copies of the books for the series. A local scholar will give a free presentation on each title.
Its a series people can participate in and feel like theyre learning a little more. Theyre delving into a topic, Sokol says.
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Buffalo Coat Where: 1912 Center Great Room, 412 E. Third St. Scholar: Paula Coomer of Clarkston
Author Carol Ryrie Brink is often remembered as the Idaho-born Newbery Award winning author of the childrens book Caddie Woodlawn. Brink spent her childhood in Moscow, which is the setting for her first adult novel, Buffalo Coat.
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 30, A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West, Where: University of Idaho Library Scholar: Ron McFarland of Moscow
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 7, Thousand Pieces of Gold Where: 1912 Center Great Room Scholar: Lesa Luders of Moscow
Thousand Pieces of Gold is the novel that made Chinese immigrant Polly Bemis famous worldwide. Sold by her father in China during a famine, Bemis was eventually brought to Idahos Warren mining district in the 1880s. The book, by Ruthanne Lum McCunn, brings to life Bemis courage, hard work and indomitable spirit along with the anti-Chinese prejudice eastern immigrants of the time endured.
When: 7 p.m. Feb. 26, Home Below Hells Canyon Where: 1912 Center Great Room Scholar: Barbara Meldrum of Moscow
In the autobiography Home Below Hells Canyon Grace Jordan describes life on a remote sheep ranch in the 1930s in the Snake River Canyon south of Lewiston. Grace, her husband, Len, and their three children move to the gorge during the Depression and become self-sufficient. Their lives are centered around family, hard work and common sense in a landscape many would consider extreme. Len Jordan later became an Idaho governor and U.S. senator.
When: 7 p.m. March 20, We Sagebrush Folks Where: University of Idaho Library Scholar: Ron McFarland of Moscow
At first the educated and cultivated Annie Pike Greenwood was in love with the mountains when her family moved from Utah to a Carey Act farm on the Twin Falls North Side Project. She soon found the frontier to have adverse effects on women. In We Sagebrush Folks, the former teacher frankly relates the costs of hard work, poverty and distance on the human soul.