Jon Axline earned an M.A in American history from Montana State University in Bozeman in 1985. Since 1990, he has been employed as the historian at the Montana Department of Transportation in Helena. Jon is currently the manager of the department's highway historical marker program and supervises its historic roads and bridges program in addition to answering the myriad questions that arise about the department's history. He is a co-author of all three volumes of the Helena local history series, More From the Quarries of Last Chance Gulch (1995, 1996, 1998). He has also published articles about scenic U. S. Highway 91 (1998), the Montana, Wyoming & Southern Railroad (1999), and Thomas Francis Meagher (2003). A volume about Montana's historic bridges is forthcoming.
Kansas native Ellen Baumler is a fourth generation Jayhawk and earned her Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Kansas in 1985. She has been the coordinator of Montana's National Register sign program at the Montana Historical Society since 1992 and is currently the society's interpretive historian. Ellen is the author of Spirit Tailings (MHS Press, 2002); co-author with IR editor Dave Shors of Lost Places, Hidden Treasures, (Farcountry Press, 2002); and editor of Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan (MHS Press, 2003). A frequent contributor to Montana The Magazine of Western History, "Devil's Perch," her study of Butte's red light district, received the magazine's Vivian A. Paladin Award for best article of 1999.
Jodie Foley was born and raised in Missoula. She attended the University of Montana, studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels from 1983 to 1990. The Montana Historical Society Archives hired her in the summer of 1990. She was promoted to her current position of Oral Historian and Archivist in 1993. Jodie is co-author of Speaking of Montana: A Guide to the Oral History Collection of the Montana Historical Society (1997); contributing author to Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in Montana History; and a recurring presenter at the "Jerks in Montana History" sessions of the Annual Montana History Conference. Her contributions to this volume stem from ongoing research she is conducting on women in the Montana State Prison.
Kristin Gallas was born and raised in Vermont. She received a Secondary History and Theatre Education degree from the University of Vermont and a Masters of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education from the George Washington University. Kristin moved to Montana in 1998 to assume the position of Education Officer for the Montana Historical Society, a position she held until 2004. She is currently the Director of Education and Interpretation at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Her piece on Toussant Charbonneau is an endeavor to have fun with the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemoration.
Angie Gifford was born and raised in Helena, Montana. She attended both local high schools and Carroll College. At Carroll she studied history under the fine tutelage of Dr. Robert Swartout and Father Greytak. Angie went to work for the MHS Library in the fall of 1995 and for seven years served as "genealogy specialist". In that position she met people from all over the country and heard many wonderful family stories...many of which she then proceeded to prove wrong! When patrons walked into the library and told these stories they would inevidably end with, "What else can you tell be about my great-grandfather?" Angie would politely reply: "Well, about all we know for sure is they're dead. Let's see what else we can find." What a great conversation starter!!! Angie now works for the MDT in the Director's office as an information specialist.
Lyndel Meikle was born in Helena, Montana. A national park ranger, she began her park service career at Yosemite National Park and worked at Fort Point and Alcatraz before transferring to Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in 1976. Her published works include Very Close to Trouble: The Memoir of John Francis Grant and several chapters in the first volume of Speaking Ill of the Dead. She has written the weekly column "Back at the Ranch" since 1982. Still a ranger at Grant-Kohrs Ranch, she also teaches blacksmithing at Powell County High School.
Dave Walter graduated from Wesleyan University (Connecticut) in 1965 and spent ten years working with Montana historian K. Ross Toole at the University of Montana in Missoula. He joined the staff of the Montana Historical Society in Helena in 1979, where he currently serves as the Research Historian. Since 1983 Dave has contributed a regular Montana-history column to Montana Magazine, and he is the author of several books, including Today Then (1992), Montana Campfire Tales (1997), More Montana Campfire Tales (2002), and Christmastime in Montana (2003). Dave's work on Montana's endless supply of "jerks"--including Simon Pepin, "Long George" Francis, James Brady, and the Montana Council of Defense--represents a lifelong commitment.