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Francis Parkman
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    (September 16, 1823-November 8, 1893)
    Born in Boston, Massachusetts
    Wrote 'The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky Mountain Life' (1847), 'The Conspiracy of Pontiac' (1851), 'Vassall Morton' (1856), 'The Book of Roses' (1866), 'France and England in North America' (1865–92)
    As a child he was bookish and sickly, leading his parents to send him to live with family in rustic territory in hopes that he would become more masculine.
    The plan backfired when he resolved to write a 'history of the forests' after graduating.
    He was a champion of Manifest Destiny.
    His writings justified Indian removal as progressive for civilization (in one piece referring to the American Indian as 'man, wolf, and devil, all in one').
    He started the false legend that Pontiac's murder instigated a war between the Ottawa and the Peoria.
    Herman Melville negatively reviewed 'The Oregon Trail' as demeaning to the Indians and as 'misleading' for only covering a third of the Oregon Trail.
    Contemporary scholars accuse him of discriminating against sources that did not reflect his views and biases.
    He was called 'a liar' by later historian Francis Jennings, who characterized his historical work as 'fiction.'
    He bore a striking resemblance to Spencer Tracy.
    He became a skilled hunter and woodsman as a youth, even capable of riding horses bareback.
    He spent several weeks living with the Oglala Sioux tribe, gaining firsthand experience with their experiences with disease and alcoholism.
    He toured parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming at the age of twenty-three, writing notes which would serve as the basis for 'The Oregon Trail.'
    He lost his son and his wife in the same year, leaving him to raise his two daughters as a single father.
    He suffered from a neurological debilitation which rendered him unable to walk in old age.
    Like fellow historian, William H. Prescott, his visual impairment resulted in temporary blindness throughout his life, forcing him to rely on scribes and dictation to complete his manuscripts.
    He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1855).
    His homes at Beacon Hill and Jamaica Plain in Boston are both recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
    He has received praise for his accurate depiction of a multi-layered society in the Old West.
    Among his admirers are Edmund Wilson, John Keegan, David McCullough and Theodore Roosevelt (who would dedicate 'The Winning of the West' to him).
    He appears in Alice Provensen's children's book, 'My Fellow Americans.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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