Back to All Events

Monthly Lecture Series: Copper King Presented by Keith Edgerton

  • Carbon County Historical Society & Museum 224 N Broadway Avenue North Red Lodge MT 59068 United States (map)

Join us as we kick off the monthly lecture series for 2018. This year we are opening the museum one hour before the lecture for members, donors and patrons to enjoy the museum, take a private tour of the third floor and mix & mingle before the speaking engagement. 

William A. Clark was one of Montana’s famed (or infamous) copper kings. When he died in 1925 he was one of the wealthiest men in America and lived in the largest privately owned residence ever built in New York City. Yet he came to Montana in 1863 virtually penniless and built one of America’s great fortunes. Along the way, too, he became the founding father of Las Vegas (still today it is situated in Clark County) and a US Senator. We also remember him for his scandalous marriage to a Butte woman, Anna Lachapelle, who was 39-years his junior. Their daughter, Huguette, died in New York City in 2011 and is the subject of the best-selling book, Empty Mansions. This talk will survey all of this—and then some.

Keith Edgerton currently teaches modern American history, environmental history, and Montana history, at Montana State University-Billings where he has been a professor of history there for the last 24 years and where he is currently the chair of the history department. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Washington State University. He has published and has spoken on a variety of western history topics including his true passion, the journey of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He has published two books, one on the history of the Montana Highway Patrol and one based on his doctoral research entitled Montana Justice: Power, Punishment, and the Penitentiary published by the University of Washington Press in 2005.

Currently he is at work on a biography of William A. Clark (not to be confused with the William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame). This particular William A. Clark was one of Montana’s late 19th century copper barons and became a U.S. Senator in 1901 in an election tainted by, to put it mildly, scandal and corruption. When he died in New York in 1925 he was one of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

Keith lives in Billings with his “amore” and wife, Professor Lenette Kosovich. They love to cook, travel, make home brew, and in the summer canoe through the scenic White Cliffs region of the upper Missouri. Between them they have five boys in various states of adulthood.

Earlier Event: December 23
Museum Closed for Holidays
Later Event: February 1
Sneak Peek: Agriculture