Special Collections holds close to 100 novels of the popular Western writer Louis L’Amour (many of which have been dedicated to Valda and her husband), whom Valda met in California in the 1970s and maintained contact with until his death in 1988. In addition, eight Kachina dolls are held by the Flinders University Art Museum.
Valda Harding joined the Commonwealth Public Service as a librarian, and worked in Canberra for many years before returning to Adelaide (where part of her childhood was spent), in 1980. She then began a BA degree at Flinders University completing that award in 1987, and a Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences in 1993.
As she had travelled extensively in California and the Southwestern United States, she came to Flinders with a well-developed interest in the history and culture of the indigenous communities in those areas. The topics she chose at Flinders – Spanish, American Studies and History – reflect those interests, and in the years following her graduation she remained an avid reader and student of Native American history. Two elements of her fascination for the history of the American West and its peoples are now held at Flinders University in her memory, donated by her husband Mr Bruce Harding.
Books can be found by searching within the Louis L’Amour and Valda Harding Collection in FindIt@Flinders: