Author of western fiction, physician. Born: February 28, 1926, Iola, Kansas. Died: June 25, 2009, Kansas City, Kansas.
Born February 28, 1926, in Iola, Don Coldsmith was the son of a Methodist preacher. He attended school in Coffeyville and joined the army in 1944 working as a medic in the Pacific Theater during World War II. After the conclusion of the war, Coldsmith was assigned to Japan to treat those accused of war crimes.
Following his service, Coldsmith attended Baker University in Baldwin. He worked at the YMCA in Topeka as a youth director, helping to integrate the swimming pool. In 1958 he earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas.
In addition to being a family practitioner in Emporia, Coldsmith also had a love of writing. He occasionally taught English at Emporia State University and in 1990 he began to write a series of westerns. He received the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for best original paperback, for his novel The Changing Wind.
Coldsmith's popular Spanish Bit Saga, inspired when he found a relic near his Emporia home, to include a series of 29 books set in Kansas. These western fictional works featured stories of Plains Indians. Threads in his stories were contacts with Spanish explorers, introduction of the horse, and conflicts with other tribes and white settlers. In all, Coldsmith wrote more than 40 books, including nonfiction works.
He was named Distinguished Kansan of the Year by the Native Sons and Daughters in 1993. In 1995 he received the Edgar Wolfe Award for lifetime contributions to literature. Coldsmith died June 25, 2009.
Entry: Coldsmith, Don
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2010
Date Modified: January 2013
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