Join the Montana Historical Society Press in Billings on Sept. 29 and Helena Oct. 6 for the book launch of Montana’s Visionary Mayor, Willard E. Fraser, by Lou Mandler.
Willard Fraser, who was known for his moxie and pizzazz, was the progressive and often controversial four-term mayor of Billings during the turbulent 1960s. A true humanitarian, Fraser was equally comfortable rubbing elbows with high-level politicians and celebrities – like his father-in-law, poet Robert Frost – and hobnobbing with the Skid Row residents.
Mandler will be at the MSU-Billings Library Auditorium from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 29 for a book talk and slide show. She’ll be joined by current Billings Mayor Bill Cole and MSU History Professor Keith Edgerton, and refreshments will be served.
The Helena event takes place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 6 in the Montana Historical Society lobby, 225 No. Roberts Street, with refreshments.
“As Lou Mandler’s sprightly written extensively researched biography reveals, Willard Fraser was the rare politician: a hard-working, imaginative visionary with pragmatic flexibility,” Edgerton said. “He rightfully claims the title as ‘Billings greatest mayor.’”
Fraser tackled air and water pollution, cleaned up urban blight, and ensured that women, youth, and ethnic minorities were not marginalized. Passionate about Montana’s historical and cultural heritage, Fraser promoted Billings and Montana to the world.
For more information or to get a copy of the book for review, order online at or contact Laura Ferguson at Laura.Ferguson2@mt.gov.