So Much to Be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontier (Women in the West)

by Ruth Barnes Moynihan (Editor)

Hardcover, 1990




University of Nebraska Press (1990), Edition: 1st Paperback Edition, 326 pages


The genuine creative achievements of nineteenth-century Western women have often been obscured by sentimental tributes to their devotion and diligence, while men are praised as pathfinders, entrepreneurs, and community builders. But these nineteen narratives, by women of diverse status and background, reveal women's involvement in every aspect of settlement. Their part in making hard decisions, producing essential income, and developing new communities was as important as their flexibility, humor, and sense of adventure. This collection describes the experiences of pioneer women responding in individual ways to the challenge of frontier hardships.--From publisher description.


(9 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
What an inspirational book. Some of these pioneer women came from the East and South and maintained their stereotypical view of women's roles and the value of their own race; some took advantage of all the adventures and new people their new land had to offer. Some stayed poor their whole lives,
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some started poor but made wise investments and ended up quite well off, some started in riches and just continued, almost all expressed a love of the West in their letters, diaries and manuscripts. Almost all also whether in a desert adobe in Arizona or in wooden cabins in San Francisco or Denver maintained an interest in fashion, buying and creating trimmings and clothes for themselves and their families. Most of these women spent months or years alone or with their children while their husbands were prospecting or working elsewhere. Some had frightening encounters with Indians, others found them trusted companions. One, Sister Blandina Segale said, "A good Indian is the best ally in an emergency." She was also reading psychology books in 1876. The 19th century ideal of womanhood -- that a "true woman" should be passive, obedient, pious and pure continued to be embraced by some but others gloried in their freedom and responsibilities, and through the womanly talents of cooking, cleaning, sewing and educating were able to support themselves and their families.
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Original language


Physical description

326 p.; 9 inches


0803231342 / 9780803231344
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