Horseback Schoolmarm by Margot Liberty
Montana, 1953–1954

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This intensely personal fresh account of that first year teaching in Montana was actually written in the summer of 1954 and lost for 60 years. We must be grateful for its discovery and publication, for it is an invaluable testament to a forgotten way of life and a fascinating slice of rural life to boot.
-Washington Times

Synopsis


In 1953, Margot Pringle, newly graduated from Cornell University, took a job as a teacher in a one-room school in rural eastern Montana, sixty miles southeast of Miles City. “Miss Margot,” as her students called her, would teach at the school for one year. This book is the memoir she wrote then, published here for the first time, under her married name. Filled with humor and affection for her students, Horseback Schoolmarm recounts Liberty’s coming of age as a teacher, as well as what she taught her students.

Margot’s school was located on the SH Ranch, whose owner needed a way to retain his hired hands after their children reached school age. Few teachers wanted to work in such remote and primitive circumstances. Margot lived alone in a “teacherage,” hardly more than a closet at one end of the schoolhouse. It had electricity but no phone, plumbing, or running water. She drew water from a well outside. The nearest house was a half-mile away. Margot had a car, but she had to park it so far away, she kept her saddle horse, Orphan Annie, in the schoolyard.

Miss Margot started with no experience and no supplies, but her spunk and inventiveness, along with that of her seven student, made the school a success. Evocative of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s school-teaching experiences some eighty years earlier, Horseback Schoolmarm gives readers a firsthand look at an almost forgotten—yet not so distant—way of life.
 

About Margot Liberty

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Published July 21, 2016 by University of Oklahoma Press. 144 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History.
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Washington Times

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Reviewed by Martin Rubin on Aug 07 2016

This intensely personal fresh account of that first year teaching in Montana was actually written in the summer of 1954 and lost for 60 years. We must be grateful for its discovery and publication, for it is an invaluable testament to a forgotten way of life and a fascinating slice of rural life to boot.

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