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Idaho State University researcher Phil Homan receives $3,500 Idaho Humanities Award to conduct research on South African war horses from Idaho

November 21, 2018

POCATELLO – Idaho State University Professor Philip Homan was awarded a $3,500 research fellowship from the Idaho Humanities Council to conduct research on the experience of the South African War horse from Idaho to the Transvaal. Homan’s project “‘This Flotsam and Jetsam of Human Passions’: Idaho War Horses to the South African War, 1899-1902,” explores Idaho’s global reach.

Phil Homan headshot IIHoman is continuing his study of Idaho’s horse dealer, Kittie Wilkins, whose horse ranch provided many of these war horses.  The project director is Philip Homan. This is the second IHC Research Fellowship that Homan has received to study women, horses and ranching in Idaho.

Homan, who is an instruction librarian at the ISU Oboler Library, has done extensive research on Kittie Wilkins, known as the “Horse Queen of Idaho,” who raised and sold horses in southern Idaho in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His research on Wilkins was featured by Idaho Public Television in the documentary “Taking the Reins,” the second episode in IdahoPTV’s new series Idaho Experience, last May 2018.

Homan’s work has included a book-length scholarly biography about Wilkins and publishing numerous popular and scholarly articles on her, including papers with titles such as “‘Everything Growing into Money’: Kittie Wilkins, the Horse Queen of Idaho, and Range Horse Ranching in the Nineteenth-Century American West” and “Miss Wilkin’s Big Sale: Kittie Wilkins, the Horse Queen of Idaho, and Western American Horses for the Second Anglo-Boer War in South Africa, 1899-1902.” He has also presented information about her at scholarly conferences in Turkey, Estonia, and Norway, and well as the United States, and at informal venues throughout the region with the IHC Speakers Bureau.

The Idaho Humanities Council, the statewide nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities in Idaho, awarded $115,489 in grants to organizations and individuals.  Thirty-four awards include 28 grants for public humanities programs, three research fellowships, three teacher incentive grants and three other funded programs. 

The grants were supported in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Idaho Humanities Council’s Endowment for Humanities Education.