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  • Writer's pictureJay Trask

Centennial Journey

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Research and historical accuracy were always incredibly important for James Michener. He weaved his stories into the detailed historical background of a region. Centennial was no exception. Michener had spent several years working and learning at the Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley, Colorado. Many ideas that would form the basis of the novel Centennial were already developed during this time. He would produce an unpublished novella entitled Jefferson during the 1950s with some of these ideas. When the time came to write his epic story of Colorado, Michener undertook a research journey across the western US with his wife Mari, research assistant John Kings, and photographer Tessa Dalton. Kings documented this epic quest and the filming of the Centennial miniseries in his fascinating book In Search of Centennial: A Journey with James A. Michener. The University of Northern Colorado is fortunate to have the complete collection of slides taken on the journey by Dalton. The collection is digitized and available at Digital UNC.

Michener at the Triangle X Ranch in Wyoming.

Filming the horse race scene in Centennial.

Ruins in Keota, Colorado.

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