Betty Beeby was commissioned to paint the fifty-foot mural at the Orientation Center at Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City in 1974. In a long and distinguished career, she won numerous awards while illustrating fourteen children’s books and several other volumes. She also was the cover artist for thirty book jackets. She was born in 1923 and raised in Detroit, but she called the house on Torch Lake in Eastport home. She was a graduate of Cass Tech in Detroit and, aided by a Booth Scholarship, from Pratt Institute in New York. She worked as a staff artist for Time Life magazines before marrying Jim Beeby and moving back to Michigan in 1944. They raised their four children in Kalamazoo. She discovered the Peterborough archive in the family barn in the 1970s, and created the lithographs illustrating the book that followed. She lived to see it presented as a tone poem in 1988 and as a ballet in 2011. She died in 2015.
Larry Smith is a New York Times bestselling author of several books, including The Original, Beyond Glory, Iwo Jima, and The Few and the Proud. Prior to that, he served nineteen years as the managing editor of Parade magazine, following stints with five different newspapers, including the New York Times and the New York Daily News. He grew up on a farm south of Charlevoix, Michigan, near the area that became the setting for The Original. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1962. Betty Beeby was a friend of the Smith family. It was her curiosity and diligence that led to the discovery of the letters and diaries that became The Peterborough Letters, assembled and edited by Larry. He has run the New York City Marathon and climbed Mt. Denali in Alaska. He is a member of The Explorer’s Club, and a former president of The Overseas Press Club of America. He and his wife Dorothea live on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. They have two daughters, Stacey and Jennifer.