David Fenimore
Department of English Mail Stop 0098
University of Nevada, Reno NV 89557-0098 USA
1.775.682.6374 FAX: 1.775.784.6266

Bicycling Across America | Woody Guthrie | John Sutter | Zane Grey | Horace Greeley | Lewis Keseberg
 TeilhardE.O. Wilson | University Distinguished Professor of the Humanities | John Muir Trail 2000 | Contact Me

These pages describe a bunch of stuff I do, including "Chautauqua" portrayals of historical characters like Woody Guthrie. Contact me for further details.


November 2nd, 2012: 1872 US Presidential candidate Horace Greeley gives a campaign speech at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Reno, Nevada.

October 13th, 2012: Captain John Sutter welcomes the latest batch of overland emigrants at the annual Donner Party Hike at Sugar Bowl's Mt. Judah Lodge, 1:00 PM.

July 14th, 2012: Woody's 100th Birthday Sing-along at Sundance Books in Reno.

July 20th, 2012: Annual Hootenanny with Woody and friends Pete & Cisco at Sorensen's Resort, a benefit for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Come sing along around the campfire in beautiful Hope Valley, California.


FRIDAY, JULY 20th, 2012

A Hootenanny for the Food Bank Of Northern Nevada


and his good-time road buddies

(NOTE: all songs are protected by US copyright law #1776-IWW and anyone singing them without our permission is a good friend of ours)

Admission $10/person, matched by Sorensen's, with all proceeds benefiting the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, who are feeding more hungry folks than ever before. Bring a jacket, bring the kids, and sing along around the campfire. Lyrics will be provided, and hot chocolate & cookies will be served. Communist literature will not be available, but most of us are already in the red.

Sorensen's Resort offers picturesque lodging, good food and fine drink in an idyllic mountain meadow setting. Public as well as private campgrounds are located nearby.

For more information go to http://www.sorensensresort.com/


 Woody sez, "I've found that in America they won't let you starve to death. They will let you get mighty hungry, though.
Down in Oklahoma we're on grocery savings time, when we can get 'em, that is."



Other days, other characters:

LOOKING BACK: I spent the first half of 2008 as a visiting professor at the University of the Basque Country in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. Read all about it here

flysch, along the Basque coast of northern Spain

[Fenimore as

Horace Greeley
Learn about Horace Greeley (that's me at left, as him). Horace returned this summer at the High Plains Chautauqua in -- of all places -- Greeley, Colorado!

Contact me if you'd like me to bring Uncle Horace to your neck of the woods. He's quite a character, as a perusal of his mid-nineteenth century editorials in the New York Daily Tribune will reveal, with something to say about almost anything. It's been over 10 years since I portrayed Horace, who was the second character I developed, and so I'm looking forward to reconstructing him using the techniques I've honed with my later characters.

Hear a radio interview with Horace Greeley recorded for Public Radio's Radio Curious by Mendocino County producer/host Barry Vogel.

  • In the summer of 1997, Greeley joined Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Louisa May Alcott at the Democracy Challenged Chautauqua in Portsmouth NH, sponsored by the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Over 400 citizens thronged the tent each night, with overflow crowds at most of the daytime workshops. Every summer since then, the NHHC has produced a tent Chautauqua and associated workshops, including a Young Chautauqua program, at Portsmouth and other sites around the Granite State.

What is "Chautauqua," anyway? To take Woody Guthrie as an example, I follow the traditional model by presenting a 30-40 minute monologue woven from Woody's own words and snippets of his songs. Woody then takes questions in character. Lastly, I resume my own identity to lead a discussion of Woody and his times from a current perspective. My other characters take a similar approach, all based on primary texts and the latest historical scholarship.

To find out what it takes to bring Woody (or Captain Sutter, or Doc, or Uncle Horace) to your neighborhood, contact me.
  • As Woody said, "if you're afraid I wouldn't go over at your lodge or party, ... you are possibly right. In such case, just mail me 15 dollars and I won't come."

[Fenimore as Grey]

Zane Grey, DDS, or "Doc," another character of mine, periodically flickers to life as he did in in summer 2009 for the Nevada Humanities Chautauqua and in 2005 for appearances at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources and at the University of the Basque Country in  Vitoria-Gastez, Spain. A version of my 1993 play on Doc's life, A Bad Boy Grown Up, was produced in October 2005 by the Readers Theatre at the annual Western Literature Association conference in Los Angeles, and forms the basis for my one-person show.


  • Bicycling Across America
    Read reviews of, and excerpts from, my book
  • Bicycling Across America: A Journal on the Open Road (Pinedrop Press, 1986).
  • Cure Your Insomnia!
    Or, you can sit back (or lie down, given a hard copy or recumbent terminal) and read an essay I wrote on Greeley's brand of utopian agrarianism, entitled "'This Daniel Boone Business is Played Out': Horace Greeley and the Shiftless State of Kansas"
  • Lewis Keseberg
    I have also been portraying Donner Party survivor
    Lewis Keseberg (1814-1895), mostly as part of North Tahoe and Truckee third-grade California history curriculum.

  • Teaching | Bicycling Across America | Woody Guthrie | John Sutter | Zane Grey | Horace Greeley | Lewis Keseberg
     TeilhardE.O. Wilson | University Distinguished Professor of the Humanities | John Muir Trail 2000 | Contact Me

    Last Updated: 10 October 2012