February Artists & Authors

February’s Artists & Authors series brings author Travis Gulbrandson to the Library to discuss his recently published novel, “A Marble Heart”.

“A Marble Heart” tells the true story of Julia Anna Baker, who ran children’s homes across the Midwest for personal financial gain in the early part of the 20th century. Baker traveled the country proselytizing for and collecting money in the name of “home conserving.” The children who came under her care, however, were subject to filthy living conditions, insufficient food and, in some cases, physical abuse.

The book was inspired by a photograph found in a Sioux Falls antique store. “A Marble Heart” is the culmination of more than two years of historical research, and utilizes such real-world figures as Baker herself, Kansas City politicians and a preacher who claimed to be the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah.

Gulbrandson is previously the author of two novels, “The Believers” and “Away from the Nets,” and “Face to Face,” a collection of short stories. He worked as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade, including publications at Pierre, Yankton and Vermillion. During that time his work was recognized by the South Dakota Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.