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"Aristotle in the Branding Corral"

Oct 29, 2020

Course: Writing Biographies and Histories: Recording Stories of People and Places (2019)
Faculty: Robert Stockman, Thelma Batchelor, Roger Dahl, Richard Hollinger, Jenny Lockwood

Editor’s Note: Povy Bigbee is one of a growing number of students who have taken the Wilmette Institute’s course on Writing Biographies and Histories and have later succeeded in publishing their work. In October, Povy wrote to give us an update on her progress with her family memoir, “Aristotle in the Branding Corral.”

Dear Friends,

I write to thank Robert Stockman and those who put together the course Writing Biographies and Histories: Recording Stories of People and Places, which I took last summer. My book is coming together nicely. I am drawing on many histories and family stories of how our family managed to travel from the East Coast to New Mexico, from the 1700s through the 1980s. I have drawn together many strands of thought and ideas, and I have learned a great deal of history, especially regarding homesteading and ranching. 

In my book, the Spanish Basque family of our ranch foreman is traced back to the 1600s. That family and their three children grew up with our family, including our three children, on the ranch, traveling to the same school, trading horses, and working cattle.

I do have an editor, a lovely Bahá’í from Las Cruces, and an archivist, who just happens to be our foreman’s granddaughter. The work is difficult, in part because, at 87, I am no longer as strong as I once was.  I have every hope of finishing late this year or early in 2021, and likely will need advice on printing and publishing.

Our family includes an uncle who declared in 1910, my grandmother who declared in 1914, and an unbroken line of Bahá’ís ever since.  Thanks for the early ideas and guidance!

Povy La Farge Bigbee



Povy La Farge Bigbee

I was born in New York City in 1933. Mother moved us to a ranch in Colorado in 1940. My high school was Chatham Hall; for college, I attended Colorado A&M. I was one of the first five women to graduate in Agriculture, with a minor in Philosophy. I married my classmate, John F. Bigbee, in 1955. We have three adult children and six grandchildren. We now live on an irrigated farm in La Mesa, NM. We grow pecans and two granddaughters grow flowers commercially on our farm.

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