Tomboy Bride: A Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West (The Pruett Series)

by Harriet Fish Backus

Paperback, 1980




WestWinds Press (1980), Edition: Second edition, 320 pages


Harriet Backus writes about her life as an assayer's wife and true pioneer of the West with heart-felt emotion and vivid detail. Sharing her amusing and often challenging experiences as a new bride in the high San Juan Mountains where the Tomboy Mine operated above Telluride, Colorado, she paints a poignant picture of the people, and the life centered around silver mining where most of the book takes place. It is a skillfully written account from a women's perspective in a rough and tumble mining town that has made this book a classic for women's studies.  Harriet's life followed her husband George's career which took them many places beyond the San Juan Mountains including the rugged coast of British Columbia, and the mountainous mining town of Elk City, Idaho and back to Colorado's Leadville. Although both Hattie and George were from the San Francisco bay area where they eventually retired, her heart never quite left the rugged mountain trails of the high San Juans of Colorado.  … (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ElnEm
My Grandparents grew up and were married in the San Juan Mountains mining region in the early 20th century and my grandmother said this account is very much what her life was like as a bride at 18.
LibraryThing member itsJUSTme
I really wanted to like this book but was disappointed. It got "old" real fast. About 1/2 way through I was tired of it and just wanted to be done. I normally like this kind of book! But it just didn't do it for me.
LibraryThing member AmronGravett
"I heard more incredible stories of packrat ingenuity and achievement but no one could tell why the rats hid the food instead of eating it.

The author recounts life at the Tomboy Mine nearly 12,000 feet high in a mountain near Telluride. She retells their lives moving around to British Columbia, Idaho and Leadville. After numerous rejections, it was finally published when she was 84 years old. This is an important memoir from Colorado mining history and the conditions of the families who endured.… (more)


Original language


Original publication date

1977 (Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder Colorado)

Physical description

320 p.; 5.5 inches


0871085127 / 9780871085122
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