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$1,273 pledged of $5,000 goal
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$1,273 pledged of $5,000 goal
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About this project

What’s the book about? Mining Childhood  takes a child’s-eye view of the legendary Butte, Montana, known variously as “the Richest Hill on Earth,” “the Gibraltar of Unionism,” and “Ireland’s Fifth Province.” This book shows why Butte’s residents braved the hardships of life in a mining town. Children were Butte’s reason to be—copper was merely the means to support them.

In chapters about children’s home life in Butte’s ethnic neighborhoods, school days, play, work, and efforts to guide and shape young lives, Mining Childhood evokes the fun of being a child. There’s hardship, too, and even violence that families endured during mine shutdowns and strikes. Playing on gallows frames; sledding and skating during Butte’s winters; trolley rides to Columbia Gardens for the roller coaster, picnics and pansy picking; baseball games; selling newspapers in Uptown; or working as a bucket girl filling miners’ lunch boxes: these memories are richly illustrated with photos of children’s lives from the turn of the century onward.

Where is your money going? Mining Childhood has been many years in the making, and the total cost of publishing the book is estimated at $35,000. Much of the price tag has already been funded through in-kind contributions and gifts as well as grants, including one from Humanities Montana. We just need $5,000 to see the project through to completion. Please help us make it happen.

By the way, your donation won’t simply fund this one book. It will plant a seed: proceeds from the book will fund future books that will educate students and researchers, entertain history buffs, and enrich lives.

Who is Janet Finn? Author Janet Finn grew up in Butte, in the 1960s, when underground mining was giving way to open-pit mining and dynamite blasts at the Berkeley Pit punctuated the noon hour each day. Now Janet is professor of social work at the University of Montana. She has written extensively on Butte and childhood. For Mining Childhood, she wove oral histories from people who grew up in the Mining City with the hundreds stories she found in newspapers and archives to tell the city’s history from a child’s-eye view.

Who is the publisher? We’re the nonprofit Montana Historical Society Press. We publish readable and provocative books for students and adults focusing on the history and cultural resources of Montana. We’re delighted to be working with Janet on this cool project.

We think you would enjoy partnering with Janet, too. Thanks in advance for helping us get this book published!

Risks and challenges

We have overcome the initial challenges of Mining Childhood: the writing is complete and the book is laid out and ready to go to the printer. Our remaining challenges are to fund the printing and keep the project on schedule for a December release. In fact, scheduling has been our biggest challenge throughout the project, as it has been delayed already for careful editing. Please help us keep it on track by chipping in for the printing.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PDF of Mining Childhood, delivered via Dropbox

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Signed paperback copy of Mining Childhood

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Signed paperback copy of Mining Childhood, plus a hardcover copy of another book to deepen your understanding of Butte's history, Copper Chorus: Mining, Politics, and the Montana Press

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Funding period

- (30 days)