University Relations and Communications

Inaugural Sue Hart Memorial Lecture in Western American Literature will feature O. Alan Weltzien

November 2, 2015 



Tami Haaland, Professor of English, 657-2948
University Relations and Communications, 657-2266


Sue Hart teaches EMC English students in the archive photo above. Sue began her tenure at Eastern Montana College in 1961 as a member of the English faculty.


She retired from MSU Billings at the end of the 2013 academic year and passed away on Aug. 25, 2014.



MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The inaugural Sue Hart Memorial Lecture in Western American Literature will feature O. Alan Weltzien, Professor of English at The University of Montana Western, speaking on  “Thomas Savage, First-rate novelist and Dillon’s Best Historian?”


Weltzien will visit Billings Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7pm, for a reading at the MSUB Extended Campus, 214 North Broadway.


The event is co-sponsored by The Writer’s Voice and MSU Billings; it is free and open to the public.


This annual lecture was created by the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages to honor a beloved member of the English faculty whose contributions to the study of western literature were respected throughout the region.


Weltzien will review Savage’s career and focus upon his use of Dillon during the interwar period in most of his novels (eight of thirteen) set in Southwest Montana. Weltzien has written an article under consideration at Montana The Magazine of Western History on the subject of Savage as Dillon’s Best Historian.


Thomas Savage (1915 – 2003) was an American author of 13 novels published between 1944 and 1988. He is best known for his Western novels, which drew on early experiences in the American West.
Savage was born in Beaverhead County and educated in Missoula. By the time he was twenty-nine, Savage had worked as a wrangler, ranch hand, welder, and railroad brakeman. Following the publication of his first novel (The Pass) and the birth of his first two children, Savage secured several teaching positions in Massachusetts, where he taught from 1947–1949. By 1955, Savage was able to stop teaching and focus on his writing full-time.


Savage received an Honorary M.F.A. from Colby College, 1952, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, 1979. His 1989 novel, The Corner of Rife and Pacific, won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award and was listed as one of the top fifteen books of the year by Publisher’s Weekly.


O. Alan Weltzien, longtime Professor of English at The University of Montana Western (Dillon), has authored, edited, or co-edited eight books including a memoir (A Father and an Island, 2008) and two books of poetry (To Kilimanjaro and Back, 2011, and The Snowpeaks, 2013). He has published dozens of articles including three devoted to the career and fiction of Thomas Savage. In addition, Weltzien helped edit and wrote the introductions for the recent reprints of Savage’s first two novels, The Pass (1944; 2009) and Lona Hanson (1948; 2011).  Weltzien is a longtime member of WLA (Western Literature Association) and ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and Environment).