A book talk by the author of a new biography of Louise Shadduck will be presented Thursday, Sept. 12, in a very appropriate place – the Coeur d’Alene Public Library.
A longtime advocate for the new library, she served as the honorary chair for the library’s building fund and wielded a shovel for its groundbreaking. The evening before the library was dedicated she gasped in delight as a bust – created by sculptor Terry Lee – was unveiled in her honor. The bust now stands before the Louise Shadduck Legacy Wall at the entrance to the library Community Room.
The Community Room, on the lower level of the library, 702 E. Front Ave., will host a 7 p.m. program with Mike Bullard, the author of “Lioness of Idaho, Louise Shadduck and the Power of Polite.”
“Many people now living knew Louise in the last third of her life, but because she so rarely spoke of herself,” Bullard says, “few realize the significance of her early accomplishments.”
Born in the Lake City Oct. 14, 1915, to a pioneering family, by the 1930s Shadduck worked as a reporter for both the Coeur d’Alene Press and the Spokesman-Review. Her coverage of politics led to her involvement in the election process. In 1958 she was appointed Secretary of the Idaho Department of Commerce and Development, the first woman in the United States to hold such a position.
She was actively involved in politics and continued to write her entire life. Books published during her life include “Andy Little, Idaho Sheep King,” “Doctors with Buggies, Snowshoes and Planes: 100 Years and More of Idaho Medicine,” “At the Edge of the Ice: Where Coeur d’Alene and its People Meet,” and “Idaho Rodeo!”
The 239 page biography describes Shadduck’s childhood on a Coeur d’Alene dairy farm, doing chores with her six brothers, seeing the first electric lights and phone come to the farm where she was born. The book includes fun stories about her fast boating and driving all the way into her 90s.
“Lioness of Idaho” documents how, even after retirement from government work she achieved passage of legislation. She wrote a timber tax policy that made it economically beneficial to manage private forest land for sustainable use. She applied her clout in Boise to ensure passage of an amendment to the malicious harassment law, providing the civil damages that were important in dismantling the Aryan Nations white supremacist compound in Hayden.
She was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree and was sought out as a potential candidate for university vice president, though she only had a high school diploma. Recipient of Idaho’s Esto Perpetua and Hall of Fame awards, she had a government office building named after her.
Bullard says that in researching Shadduck’s life he also stumbled upon a treasure chest of Idaho’s hidden history, women whose major achievements have shaped Idaho but whose work has been buried by traditional history. His book mentions Dorice Taylor, the force behind Union Pacific’s development of Sun Valley; legislators Edith Klein, Kitty Gurnsey, and Gladys Swank, and Congresswoman Gracie Pfost to name just a few.
The author is the retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Coeur d’Alene, where Louise was a member. Known to some for his 16 years of Sunday morning services on KVNI radio, Bullard now travels on short notice for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. This spring he went to Oklahoma City following the tornados there and to Yarnell, Ariz., after the deadly wildfires there.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing with a portion of sales benefitting the Friends of the Library.
Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315.