Mary Hallock Foote was a native of New York state and a trained artist. After she married a mining engineer and moved to the West, she turned to writing both to support her family and to share her experiences in this region. Her years in Idaho (1885-1894) were particularly prolific ones, and in much of her writing, the local landscape plays a significant role. Austin presents biographical information on Foote and uses Foote's prose, modern images, and the illustrations Foote drew to demonstrate her use of the landscape as well as the setting in which she wrote while living in Idaho.
As the former editor of Idaho Yesterdays, the now suspended journal of the Idaho State Historical Society, Austin wanted articles that either looked closely at a local episode and then explained its uniqueness in a broader context, or told the story of a broader event and then used local examples to illustrate the story. Austin's talk explores the importance of history as well as the importance of finding ways to tell history. She can target the talk to particular Idaho towns or historical events. Austin can also speak about her 35 years of experience in editing Idaho Yesterdays and the many interesting stories appearing in that journal over the years.