Aileen and Roy


Aileen and Roy

From Sod House to State House

Mary Cochran Grimes

202 pages
23 illustrations, 1 map


December 2010


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Aileen and Roy is the story of the author’s parents: Roy Cochran, who rose from a sod house on a hardscrabble farm in western Nebraska to the state house in Lincoln as governor, and Aileen Gantt Cochran, a pioneer teacher and superintendent of schools in the Nebraska Sandhills.
Roy Cochran’s three terms as governor (1935–41) covered the most critical years in the history of the West, when the population was ravaged by drought and the Great Depression, and new state-federal programs—social security, the WPA—were coming into being. Aileen Gantt grew up in the small town of North Platte at the end of the nineteenth century and supported her widowed mother and siblings as a teacher and county school superintendent. Their story, drawn from unpublished memoirs and family letters, provides a unique and intimate picture of life in a small western town around the turn of the century. It is also the story of two remarkable people who faced the challenge of governing in a time of despair and change.

Author Bio

Mary Cochran Grimes was born in North Platte, Nebraska, and is a graduate of the University of Nebraska. She received her MA in history from Yale University and has written several articles for Nebraska History Quarterly. She lives in Hamden, Connecticut.


“While the author chronicles her parents’ admirable qualities and accomplishments, she is also candid about some of their flaws. . . . For those who want to better understand Nebraska, it is helpful to learn more about those who have left their mark on the state. Despite her intimate connection to her subjects, [Mary Cochran Grimes] has used her training as a historian to tell her parents’ story in a balanced way.”—James E. Potter, Nebraska History

Aileen and Roy contains a revealing history of frontier Nebraska, its citizens’ strong sense of community, and the state’s turbulent politics. It is also the powerful story of how an open, virtually free educational system produced exceptional leaders in all fields in Nebraska and elsewhere and advanced the goal of realizing a successful grassroots American democracy.”—Howard Lamar, Sterling Professor Emeritus of History and former president of Yale University

"Truly an inspiring read."—Linda Wommack, True West

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Daniel Moves West
Chapter 2: T. Fulton Returns West
Chapter 3: Edith and Aileen
Chapter 4: Lincoln and the University
Chapter 5: Adventures in Teaching: Wyoming and Tecumseh
Chapter 6: A New Job and a New Friend
Chapter 7: Aileen Learns More about Roy
Chapter 8: Roy at the University
Chapter 9: Adventures on the Road: Aileen as Superintendent
Chapter 10: Roy Goes to War
Chapter 11: The Wedding
Chapter 12: Wedded Life
Chapter 13: State Engineer to Governor
Chapter 14: Governor's Mansion
Chapter 15: Recovery

Also of Interest