Beth LaDow

Membership:  2019

Member Bio

Beth LaDow is a writer and historian who explores the intersection of clashing cultures and the natural environment in the North American West. She received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University, focusing on the comparative social and environmental history of the United States and Canada, including the work of Wallace Stegner, as well as an M.A. from Harvard University. For over a decade, she served as a speechwriter for the president of Harvard, drafting speeches for global audiences, including “Universities and the Challenge of Climate Change” (Tsinghua University, Beijing) and “Literature and Leadership” (U.S. Military Academy, West Point). She also has been a radio commentator in Boston (for WBUR). Her interest in popular film led to her current project, The Barnstormers, a screenplay exploring the oil boom, early aviation, and colliding values of Native peoples, whites, and African-Americans in early twentieth-century Oklahoma.


  • The Medicine Line: Life and Death on a North American Borderland.New York: Routledge, 2001.
  • “The Astonishing Origins of Wallace Stegner’s Environmental Genius.” Montana, The Magazine of Western History 52,
    no. 3 (Autumn 2002): 66–72. (From a speech delivered at the founding of
    the American Literature Association Wallace Stegner Society)
  • “‘We Can Play Baseball on the Other Side’: The Limits of Nationalist History on a US-Canada Borderland.” In American Public Life and the Historical Imagination, edited by Wendy Gamber, Michael Grossberg, and Hendrik Hartog. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
  • “Sanctuary: Native Border Crossings and the North American West.” In One West, Two Myths, edited by Carol Higham and Robert Thacker. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2004.