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The Northern Arizona University Cline Library is pleased to present a first-hand account of a 1960s Colorado River trip led by Georgie Clark and told through the images and words of passenger Delphine Gallagher. The show runs 35 minutes, so sit back and enjoy the "trip of a lifetime."
Born on March 11, 1926 in York, Pennsylvania, Delphine Gallagher graduated
from Ursinus College with a B.S. Degree in Science. Her professional career
included positions with a dentists' supply company and the American Potash and
Chemical Corporation in Los Angeles. In addition, she served as a civilian service
club hostess in Guam during the Korean War and as a Peace Corps volunteer in
She first heard about Georgie White Clark in 1956 while on a hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In 1962, she joined one of Georgie's Glen Canyon trips and a year later traversed Cataract Canyon and the Balsas River in Mexico. In 1965, she participated in a Georgie river tour of the Grand Canyon.
An avid hiker, dancer, Spanish teacher, singer, reader, and volunteer, Delphine fondly reflects that "hardly a day goes by that I don't think about what wonderful adventures those four river trips with Georgie were."
Known as the "Woman of the River," Georgie (Bessie DeRoss) Clark was born in
Guymon, Oklahoma on November 13, 1910. During World War II, Georgie learned
to fly in Quartzsite, Arizona and joined the Ferry Command. In June of 1944,
a drunk driver struck and killed her 15-year-old daughter and only child, Sommona
Rose, as she and Georgie bicycled toward Santa Barbara.
Georgie first saw the Colorado River in 1944 on a hiking trip with fellow Sierra Club member Harry Aleson. In 1945 and 1946, she and Aleson swam 185 miles of the Colorado River in their life preservers. The next year, Georgie scraped some money together and purchased a military surplus seven-man raft. In 1954, Georgie lashed 3-ten-man boats together (known as the G-rig), which enabled her to run the rapids rather than portaging. She took a group of 28 down the Colorado River in 1955. For the next 36 years, Georgie's "Royal River Rats" became an integral part of commercial river running.
Georgie succumbed to cancer on May 12, 1992 at her home in Las Vegas.
For additional materials about the Colorado River, Georgie, and Delphine, consult
the Cline Library catalog and Special
Collections and Archives imaging database.
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Images, Script, Music: Delphine Gallagher
Exhibit Design: Bob Lunday and Andrew Roazen
Content Consultation: Diane Boyer
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