ONE HUNDRED years ago Bill Nye, Wyoming's most famous newspaper editor, complained that the onrush of civilization had "knocked the essential joy out of the life of the pioneer." He observed that " you walk over chaos where the 'hydraulic' has plowed up the valley like a convulsion." Other editors and businessmen were not disturbed by the changes they saw. Indeed, most of them wanted more "civilization."
Recently strip mining and other developments have revived Bill Nye's complaint. In 1980 many citizens took seriously the prophecy that Wyoming, which the Wall Street Journal had called the "Lonesome Land" in 1968, was destined to become a "national sacrifice area." It is an appropriate time to bring out a new edition of the long out-of-print Wyoming Guide because the book gives us a splendid portrait of Wyoming as it was long before all these modern changes began.
Two Wyoming natives, both graduates of the University of Wyoming, wrote most of the Guide. They worked under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration, which supported the preparation of such books in all states. The supervisor and editor-in-chief. Agnes Wright Spring, was born on a ranch on the Little Laramie River near Centennial in 1894. Now retired and living in Fort Collins. Colorado, she can look back on a record of great accomplishments as journalist, state librarian of Wyoming, state historian--first of Wyoming and later of Colorado--editor of the Colorado Magazine, and author of many books. Her associate, the senior editor of the Guide, Dee Linford ( 1915-71). was born in western Wyoming's Star Valley. Younger brother of Ernest H. Linford, the well-known newspaper editor and journalism professor, Dee wrote Man without a Star ( 1952), which the distinguished critic and University of Wyoming English professor Ruth Hudson rated as "the most honest and competent fictional treatment of the Wyoming scene yet written and one of the most authentic novels dealing with the history of the cattle country."