The Broidered Garment


The Broidered Garment

The Love Story of Mona Martinsen and John G. Neihardt

Hilda Martinsen Neihardt

320 pages


May 2006


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The daughter of an international financier, Mona Martinsen was a tall, striking, visionary sculptor studying in Paris with the renowned Auguste Rodin. The son of an American pioneer family on the Great Plains, John G. Neihardt was a short, brilliant, but impoverished poet and writer. It seemed like a colossal mismatch, yet both were irresistibly drawn to the same things. In the beginning as in the end, it was a passion for beauty and a celebration of the marvelous that bound Mona and John.

While studying sculpture and exhibiting in Paris, Mona Martinsen was captivated by a little book of poems, A Bundle of Myrrh, a gift from her mother. Mona wrote to the young poet, he replied, and through a series of letters the poet in Bancroft, Nebraska, and the sculptor in Paris, France, discovered much in common. Drawing on correspondence, interviews, archival research, and her own memories, Hilda Martinsen Neihardt tells the story of how the sculptor and the poet met, fell in love, raised a family, and grew old together. Warm and revealing, this timeless love story will delight the admirers of John G. Neihardt and illuminate the life and work of the artist Mona Martinsen.


Author Bio

Hilda Martinsen Neihardt (1916–2004) was the daughter of John G. Neihardt and Mona Martinsen. She is the author of Black Elk and Flaming Rainbow: Personal Memories of the Lakota Holy Man and John Neihardt and the editor of Black Elk Lives: Conversations with the Black Elk Family, both available in Bison Books editions.


“[A] fondly told story of the lives of John and Mona Neihardt, The Broidered Garment is a fine addition to the Neihardt canon and in the spirit of other work by Hilda Neihardt, who died in 2004. She did much to champion her father’s work and reputation, performing readings of his poetry, accompanied by her son Robin on classical guitar; writing Black Elk and Flaming Rainbow: Personal Memories of the Lakota Holy Man and John Neihardt; and editing Black Elk Lives: Conversations with the Black Elk Family. The Broidered Garment completes this work as only a member of the Neihardt family could have done it.” —Carolyn Johnsen, Lincoln Journal Star.

“The first two sections provide a richly detailed account of the formative years of the sculptor Martinsen and the poet Neihardt, she studying in Paris with Rodin, and he writing from the small Nebraska town of Bancroft, when they first began corresponding. Section three traces their lives from their marriage in November 1908 until Mona Martinsen’s death on April 17, 1958.”—Nebraska History

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