The Saratoga Sun -

GEM hosts Lora Webb Nichols presentation

Spotlight on Encampment photographer's early 20th century work


Lora herself inspects one of her photos.

The Grand Encampment Museum (GEM) is hosting a speaker series in 2017. The first speaker is Nicole Jean Hill, Professor of Art at Humboldt State University, Thursday, March 9. The presentation will highlight photography from the Lora Webb Nichols collection. It is one of the GEM's most valuable collections because it chronicles Nichols' life and the life of women miners and ranchers who lived in the Upper North Platte Valley in the early 20th century. This collection is believed to have inspired GEM founders Vera Oldman and Hila Parkison to establish the Grand Encampment Museum in the 1960s.

In 2015, the GEM transferred over 20,000 negatives of Nichols' collection to the American Heritage Center (AHC) in Laramie. Soon, the AHC will digitize Nichol's negative collection for all to see. Although the GEM no longer houses the physical negatives of the collection, the GEM has a copy of each negative and it preserves her photographs, glass plate negatives, letters, memorabilia and her diaries that date between 1896 and 1962.

The GEM has a permanent exhibit on display of Lora Webb Nichols. In addition to the exhibit, the collection is available for public viewing and research.

Nichols has been a center of local pride and professional and avocational research. In 1995, author Nancy Anderson published a book about Nichols that focuses on her life from adolescence to being a young copper miner's wife and mother during Encampment's copper mining boom. Most recently, the collection has inspired photographer and professor of art Nicole Jean Hill.

Wyoming PBS interviewed Hill regarding her research on Lora in the fall of 2016 and the interviewis available to view online at

Nichols had various interests and careers throughout her life. She was the editor and publisher of the Encampment Echo newspaper from 1925 to 1930. Nicols was also the owner and operator of the Rocky Mountain Studio. Writing under the pen name of "Nick Webb," she submitted stories to The Pepper Pot, a short-lived magazine published in Casper.

The presentation is hosted by the GEM and admission is by donation. For more info, call Christy at 307-327-5308.


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