Beth Judy | Bold Women in Montana History

Beth Judy profiles 11 women who have deep connections to the state’s history

Books & Writers
Beth Judy -- Bold Women in Montana History
Beth Judy’s new book celebrates intrepid, bold women in Montana’s history.

In fascinating detail, Beth Judy profiles 11 women who have deep connections to the state’s history in a book penned for young adults, but of interest to all ages.

The familiar names of peace advocate and U.S. Representative Jeannette Rankin, actress Myrna Loy and Blackfeet activist Elouise Pepion Cobell share the pages with many less familiar heroines. But all 11 share common threads: an independent spirit, and the courage to commit their beliefs to actions.

Lena Mattausch and Bridget Shea, members of the Women’s Protective Union of Butte, fought for the rights of the city’s working women; their “ideals and actions carved them a special place in labor history.” Alma Smith Jacobs, an African-American who grew up in Great Falls, became the driving force behind the construction of the first modernized library in Montana, and in 1973 was named the Montana State Librarian. A popular waterfall in Glacier National Park is named after Running Eagle, a courageous female Blackfeet warrior.

The colorful bronc-riding Greenough sisters, artist and teacher Isabelle Johnson, and Pretty Shield, “Guardian of the Crow” culture, are also among the brave women who taught, fought for, and made a name for themselves in Montana’s unruly past.

Author Jamie Ford calls Bold Women “a wonderful and insightful look at some of the most intriguing figures in state history …”

After receiving a bachelor’s from Harvard College, Judy moved to Atlanta, where she worked in public health, the arts, and later, writing and publication services. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in Missoula, and created a syndicated public radio show, “The Plant Detective.” As a freelance writer, the Missoula resident has written for “A Prairie Home Companion” and Montana Magazine, among other publications. Her new book was published by Mountain Press.

– Judy Shafter