Datus C. Proper

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Datus C. Proper
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Datus C. Proper

April 18, 1934 (1934-04-18)
Des Moines, Iowa
DiedJuly 27, 2003
Bozeman, Montana
Alma materCornell University (B.A. in English, 1956), George Washington University (M.A., 1978)
OccupationPolitical analyst, writer
EmployerU.S. State Department
Known forWhat the Trout Said

Datus C. Proper (934-2003) was a political analyst with the U.S. State Department Foreign Service, an outdoors writer, and a fly fisherman.

Early life and education

Datus C. Proper was born on April 18, 1934 to William Glisan Proper and Marjorie Carryer Proper in Des Moines, Iowa.[1] He Proper grew up in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota,[1] and Yellowstone National Park.[2] He then earned a scholarship to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire.[3] When he graduated, he moved on to Cornell University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1956.[2]

Foreign Service career

After Proper graduated from Cornell University, he joined the U.S. State Department.[2] As a Foreign Service officer[4] and political analyst,[1] he traveled to Angola, Brazil, Portugal and Ireland.[4] While with the State Department, Proper also received an M.A. from George Washington University and completed a course of study at the National War College in 1978.[1]

Proper retired from the State Departmentin 1987.[5] Following his retirement, Proper and his family moved to the Gallatin Valley in Montana, where he began a full-time career as a writer.[1]

Writing career

During Proper’s time with the State Department, he wrote and published a number of sporting articles as well as his first book, What the Trout Said.[1] After becoming a full-time writer, Proper was a regular contributor to Field and Stream Magazine[4] and wrote hundreds of articles for other outdoors publications.[1] He also wrote several more books.[1]

Personal life

Proper met his future wife, Anna Therese Collins, in Ireland while he was serving in the country with the U.S. State Department.[2] In 1975, the couple married, and they had two sons.[1]

Later years

Just before his death, Proper completed a rough draft of a new book on hunting.[3] On July 27, 2003, Datus Proper drowned while fishing in the Hyalite Creek outside of Bozeman, Montana.[2] According to authorities, he slipped on rocks and hit his head.[4]

Selected publications

  • Proper, Datus C. Running Waters. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2001.
  • Proper, Datus C. Pheasants of the Mind : A Hunter's Search for a Mythic Bird. Limited ed. Bozeman, MT: Wilderness Adventures Press, 1994.
  • Proper, Datus C. The Last Old Place : A Search through Portugal. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
  • Proper, Datus C. What the Trout Said about the Design of Trout Flies and Other Mysteries. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Scott, Kim Allen. “Biographical Note.” Datus C. Proper Papers, 1864-2003. Montana State University, Special Collections and Archival Informatics, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Brown, Kellyn. “Wildlife Author Dies Doing What He Loves.” Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 29, 2003. https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/wildlife-author-dies-doing-what-he-loves/article_efdd9c3d-4c30-5350-a3b7-0bfa3316404e.html.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Vang, Paul. “Out There: A Tribute to One of Montana's Greats.” Montana Standard, August 14, 2003. https://mtstandard.com/lifestyles/recreation/out-there-a-tribute-to-one-of-montanas-greats/article_0f508e88-1327-5caa-9411-ac12cd724e51.html.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 “Of Note: Datus Proper.” The Washington Post. WP Company, August 2, 2003. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2003/08/02/of-note/1243ec52-1396-4871-b62b-f122bb19c6ba/.
  5. “Datus C. Proper.” Pilates for Everyone. Pilates in Motion Studio, 2000. https://www.pilatesinmotionstudio.com/datus-c-proper/.

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