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Idaho Historic Figures

Ezra Taft Benson
1899-1994: Government official and religious leader, born in Whitney, Idaho, USA. He was President Eisenhower's secretary of agriculture (1953-1961). He became president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) in 1985.
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Gutzon Borglum
1867-1941: Sculptor, born near Bear Lake, Idaho Territory, USA. Child of Danish immigrants, he was raised throughout the West; after college he moved to California (1884) where he studied art and took up painting portraits. He met Jesse Benton Fremont, who sponsored his studies in Paris and Spain (1890--9). After working in California and London (England), he settled in New York City (1901). By then he had switched to sculpture; his Mares of Diomedes won a gold medal at the St Louis Exposition in 1904 and was the first American sculpture acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was soon winning commissions, including The Twelve Apostles for the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City. Asked by the Daughters of the Confederacy to sculpt the head of Robert E Lee on Stone Mountain, Georgia, he designed an ambitious ensemble portraying Confederate leaders and hundreds of soldiers; a disagreement led to his quitting in 1924 with only a few figures finished. (The project was revived in 1960.) He had already been asked by South Dakota to carve a "shrine of democracy' there and he chose Mt Rushmore. He began in 1927 and had finished the 60-foot head of George Washington by 1930, by which time the US Congress had authorized funds. An opinionated man, he feuded with the National Parks Service over money and procedures, but no one questioned his patriotism or energy. He had practically finished the other three heads by his death (and his son, Lincoln Borglum, completed some details shortly thereafter).
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Ezra Pound
1885-1972: Poet, writer; born in Hailey, Ida. Brought up in Pennsylvania, he studied at Hamilton College, N.Y. (B.Ph. 1905), and the University of Pennsylvania (M.A. 1906). He taught at Wabash College, Ind. (1906), traveled in Europe (1906--07), then lived in London (1908-20), Paris (1920-24), and Italy (1924-45). He was arrested and jailed for treason by the United States (1945) because he had made public broadcasts in Italy during World War II supporting anti-Semitism and Fascism. Judged insane, he was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C., and was released in 1958. He then returned to Italy. He was a founder of the imagist poetry movement, and was editor of several intellectual periodicals, such as Poetry (1912-19), The Little Review (1917--19), and The Exile(1927--28). A prolific translator, literary critic, and poet, both as an editor and mentor he helped shape the poetry of the 20th century - playing a major role, for instance, in the final version of T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland." Of his own work, he is most apt to be remembered for Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (1920) and for his Cantos, a series of poems written from 1917 to 1970.
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Unknown-1812: Shoshone interpreter/guide; born in present-day central Idaho or western Montana. Captured as a young girl by enemy Indians, she was sold to a French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who married her in 1804. The only woman on the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06, she served as an invaluable intermediary between the whites and local Indians. After accompanying the expedition to the West Coast, she and her husband settled in North Dakota.
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Chief Joseph
1835-1904: Nez Perce chief; born in the Wallowa Valley of present-day Oregon. A peaceful leader of a peaceful tribe, he was forced into a state of war in 1877 and helped lead 750 of his people on a 1,500-mile flight to Canada. Within 40 miles of the border, his people starving and freezing, he surrendered in October 1877, delivering an oft-quoted speech at the event. After being held in Oklahoma, he returned to the northwest (1885), where he encouraged his people to get an education and to abstain from drinking and gambling.
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