Robert E. Gard
(1910 - 1992)
Robert E. Gard was born at Iola, Kansas on July 3, 1910. He was educated at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. He taught playwriting at the University of Kansas and at Cornell, became a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, Humanities Division, and remained a fellow, and held numerous Rockefeller Foundation grants for many years. He later helped to found, with Professor Alexander M. Drummond, the New York State Playwriting Project, and helped to establish a statewide training program for New York State playwrights. In 1942, after teaching playwriting at the Banff School of Fine Arts, he founded and directed the Alberta Folklore and Local History Project, in association with the University of Alberta at Edmonton, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Robert Gard helped to establish the Provincial Archives of Alberta in 1945; and his collections, assembled from firsthand accounts of pioneers still living, constitute today one of the rare collections of the University of Alberta.
In 1945 he received an offer to join the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, and took up residence there in the fall of that year when he established the Wisconsin Idea Theatre. This was a cultural program for the whole state and reflected popular concepts of Wisconsin theatre and literature as brought to the state and as foreseen by the pioneers.
In Wisconsin, his chief areas of activity were in the theatre arts and in creative writing, with a strong side activity in collecting and publishing the folklore of the state. In 1967 he established the functional area of Arts Development under University Extension and remained a specialist in the arts in smaller communities and rural areas.
My Life as an Indian (1957)
An abridged account of the author’s life as a trapper, trader, guide and adopted member of the Piegan Blackfeet tribe.