Book Review: Pioneer Women, The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith
Link for the book @ Amazon:
Not Available on Kindle
Published by University of Oklahoma 1998/144 pages
Non-fiction/History/Pioneer Women/The Old West
"Americans have always had itching feet." John Mack Faragher
And I might add when men have itching feet to move, their wives move with them.
In the 2 books I've read so far on Pioneer women, it was the husbands that initiated the plan to move westward. Their wives without a choice in the matter moved with them.
Yes, there were some women that moved west because of business ventures whether owning a saloon, or working as a prostitute, or following the gold rush for opportunities there.
There were also women that were sold as slaves and brought to America from another country mainly China.
These women worked in prostitution, they were considered the low tier of this trade. Their cubicle of work was called a crib measuring 4x6. These women earned 38 cents per day, working 7 or more customers.
In Pioneer Women a full spectrum of women's stories are told. Women that owned business's (of various kinds), women that were wives and mothers, women that worked in saloons and or as prostitutes, women that against a society without equal rights--they became lawyer's and doctor's.
Martha Jane Canary aka Calamity Jane was not the person created on the Warner Brothers screen by Doris Day in 1953. The real Calamity Jane was a tough talking, push it to the limit, crass, abusive, cantankerous, not to mention she had a big problem with alcohol. She also worked as a prostitute.
Several times in the beginning of the book the authors mentioned that "Frontier history was known as his-story." I'd never thought of that, but I believe it is true, most books and movies are portrayed as rough cowboy mountain man type macho men.We are told less about women unless they add to the story a romantic interest.
I really liked this book! I could not put the book down. I was easily transported back in time to the real women of the west, not the fictional portrayal from Hollywood.
There are black and white photograph's on every page.
As I looked in to the eyes of the women in the photograph's I wondered what stories they did not share, what had they held back? What had they witnessed or lived through that was too painful to describe? Maybe I think too much?