Nebraska Authors

Gale E. Christianson

Born 1942-06-29 Charles City, IA (USA)

Died 2010-03-28
Hiawassee, GA (USA)

Christianson was a distinguished historian of science who taught at Indiana State University. He is probably best known for widely admired biographies of Isaac Newton, Edwin Hubble, and Nebraska's own Loren Eiseley. In writing his Eiseley biography, Fox at the Wood's Edge, he tracked down and interviewed or corresponded with all the surviving family members, writers, fellow students, and colleagues in Anthropology who knew Eiseley at just the moment when they were passing from the scene.
All of Christianson's research materials for the Eiseley biography are in the Heritage Room's Christianson-Eiseley Collection. He corresponded or spoke with Nebraska literary figures who knew Eiseley, such as Rudolph Umland, Wilbur Gaffney, Wright Morris, and Dorothy Thomas, as well as with writers like W.H. Auden and Ray Bradbury.
Christianson is not a Nebraska author by the usual criteria, but became so closely connected with so many Nebraska writers that he has to be included in the database. After finishing his biography of Eiseley, he returned to the state to write a history of a 1912 Nebraska State Penitentiary jailbreak that Eiseley remembered in All the Strange Hours. Christianson's book is The Last Posse: A Jailbreak, a Manhunt, and the End of Hang-'Em-High Justice, 2001.


Places Lived

Charles City, IA
Iowa City, IA
Cedar Falls, IA
Mason City, IA
Pittsburgh, PA
Terre Haute, IN
Hiawassee, GA

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


History; History of Science; Biography


Bachelor of Arts Degree, 1964, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Master of Arts Degree, 1966, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA
Doctor of Arts Degree, 1971, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA


Professor of Science

Places Worked

North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, IA
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN


Professor Emeritus, Indiana State University


NOVA special on Isaac Newton
American Association of University Professors
American History Association
American Committee of Irish Scholars
Phi Alpha Theta


This Wild Abyss: The Story of the Men Who Made Modern Astronomy. 1978.
In the Presence of the Creator: Isaac Newton and His Times. 1984.
Fox at the Wood's Edge: A Biography of Loren Eiseley. 1990.
Writing Lives Is the Devil!: Essays of a Biographer at Work. 1994.
Edwin Hubble: Mariner of the Nebulae. 1995.
Greenhouse: The 200-Year Story of Global Warming. 1999.
The Last Posse: A Jailbreak, a Manhunt, and the End of Hang-'Em-High Justice. 2001.

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Gale E. Christianson

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