Food Fun and Facts Books about Nineteenth Century Women in America

Women of the Western Frontier in Fact,
Fiction And Film

This work provides factual accounts of women of the Old West in contrast to their depictions on film and in fiction.

The lives of Martha Calamity Jane Canary and Belle The Bandit Queen Starr are first detailed;
one discovers that Starr was indeed friends with notorious bank robbers of the time, including Jesse James and Cole Younger, but was herself primarily a cattle and horse thief.

Wives and lovers of some of the Wests most famous outlaws are covered in the second section along with real life female entertainers, prostitutes and gamblers.

Native Americans, entrepreneurs, doctors, reformers, artists, writers, schoolteachers, and other such respectable women are covered in the third section.

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy, Ursula Smith

Pioneer Women provides a rare look at frontier life through the eyes of the pioneer women who settled the American West.

Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith vividly describe the hardships such women endured journeying west and making homes and communities on the frontier.

Their hopes and fears and, most of all, their courage in the face of adversity are revealed in excerpts from journals, letters, and oral histories. Illustrated with a fascinating collection of seldom-seen photographs, Pioneer Women reveals the faces as well as the voices of women who lived on the frontier.

The authors portray a wide variety of women, from those who found liberty and confidence in undertaking men's work to those who felt burdened by the wind, the weather, and the struggle of frontier life

Brought to Bed: Childbearing in America, 1750-1950

Based on personal accounts by birthing women and their medical attendants, Brought to Bed reveals how childbirth has changed from colonial times to the present.

Judith Walzer Leavitt's study focuses on the traditional woman-centered home-birthing practices, their replacement by male doctors, and the movement from the home to the hospital. She explains that childbearing women and their physicians gradually changed birth places because they believed the increased medicalization would make giving birth safer and more comfortable.

Ironically, because of infection, infant and maternal mortality did not immediately decline. She concludes that birthing women held considerable power in determining labor and delivery events as long as childbirth remained in the home.

The move to the hospital in the twentieth century gave the medical profession the upper hand.

Leavitt also discusses recent events in American obstetrics that illustrate how women have attempted to retrieve some of the traditional women--and family--centered aspects of childbirth.

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Wife No. 19: the Life & Ordeals of a Mormon Woman During the 19th Century
A campaigner for women's rights

This is a remarkable and controversial book by any standards. The verdict is still out on whether its author Ann Eliza Young (formerly Webb) presented her case with complete impartiality, but certainly its contents are sufficiently detailed to reveal shocking and extraordinary details of her experiences during her time as a pluralist wife of Brigham Young of the Latter-Day Saints.

A child of Mormon parents, Ann entered into her marriage with Young when he was 67 years old and she was 24, a divorcee and the mother of two children. Her writings on her experiences of the Mormon lifestyle in Utah make gripping reading and her book is filled with accounts of privation, cruelty and violence.

She filed for divorce from Brigham Young in 1873 and went on to become an outspoken advocate for the rights of women in 19th century America and an ardent and campaigning opponent of polygamous marriage.

This book is her account of her life as one of Young's wives and on its original publication propelled Ann into the public arena and became a best seller of its day. It still makes compelling reading.

Available in softcover and hardcover for collectors.

The Horrors of the Half-Known Life: Male Attitudes Toward Women and Sexuality in 19th. Century America

With an updated introduction, the revolutionary book that changed our understanding of the history of gender in America is now back in print.

Controversial and considered ahead of its time, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life is a startling portrait of male attitudes toward masculinity, women, and sexuality in nineteenth-century America

Through an examination of the elimination of midwivery, the origins of gynecology -a horrifying history-and general attitudes and advice about sexuality, Barker-Benfield brilliantly illuminates the state of manhood and misogyny in nineteenth-century America.

Now a classic in the field, The Horrors of the Half-Known Life is an important foundational text in the construction of masculinity, female identity, and the history of midwivery.

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Are you a Romantic?  Do you wonder what it would have been like to be a woman over 100 years ago?
  Read about the joys, perils and hardships these hardy women had to endure every day.

I hope the books on 19th Century Women that I recommend will add to your reading pleasure and knowledge.

Ida: Her Labor of Love
Is the expanded biography of a Colorado pioneer woman's struggles and joys while raising a large family. In the late 1800's, men rushed to Colorado looking for gold and riches.

The families they brought along found themselves in a wilderness with only a few rough mining towns.

Here is the compelling story, as told by her grand daughter, of Ida Herwick's tribulations and joys as she struggles -- while living in sod huts, tents, and sometimes, if she was lucky, a real log house -- to keep her large family alive and healthy.

Black Women of the Old West [Paperback]

Black women were always part of America's westward expansion. Some escaped slavery to live with the Native Americans, while others traveled west after the Civil War to settle the new lands.

They came as servants and as independent pioneers struggling to make a life in the wilderness.

Brief text and extraordinary photos record many of the black women who went West to find a new life for themselves and their families.


Storyville, New Orleans, Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District 225 pages, full of interviews with pimps and prostitutes.

Pioneer Families of Moab, Newman Lake, & Thompson Creek, Washington: Family Histories of the Pioneers Who Settled This Area 1880-1940

HISTORY / PACIFIC NORTHWEST / GENEALOGY. A wonderful collection of historical facts, stories, and photos detailing the lives of the pioneers who settled and shaped the areas of Moab, Newman Lake, and Thompson Creek, Washington.

In the early years, the small settlement of Moab with the post office, local mercantile store, the only telephone in the area, and the Northern Pacific train station was the business center for local residents.

Newman Lake was named for William Newman who settled there in 1960. The lake shore became the home to many resorts, dance halls, and family cottages. The inviting lake was popular for swimming, fishing, and boating during the warm months.

In the winter, ice skating was a popular sport. Thompson Creek, named for Lewis Thompson, was a noted trout fishing stream and the surrounding area was home to early homesteaders. Includes Index and over 300 archival photos / maps.

Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-century Woman, Caroline Healey Dall

In nineteenth-century Boston, amidst the popular lecturing of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the discussion groups led by Margaret Fuller, sat a remarkable young woman, Caroline Healey Dall (1822 thru 1912): transcendentalist, early feminist, writer, reformer, and, perhaps most importantly, active diarist.

During the seventy-five years that Dall kept a diary, she captured all the fascinating details of her sometimes agonizing personal life, and she also wrote about all the major figures who surrounded her.

Her diary, filling forty-five volumes, is perhaps the longest running diary ever written by any American and the most complete account of a nineteenth-century womans life.

In Daughter of Boston, scholar Helen Deese has painstakingly combed through these diaries and created a single fascinating volume of Dalls observations, judgments, descriptions, and reactions.

Scribbling Women: Short Stories by 19th-Century American Women

A new mother longing to write is judged "hysterical" and confined to her bedroom where she slowly loses herself in horrific fantasy.

A young girl stirred by two beings--a handsome young man and an ethereal white heron--is forced to make a choice between them.

A love affair quashed by convention ignites during a sudden storm.

These tales of remarkable and ordinary lives in nineteenth-century America are told throughout women's voices that call out from the kitchen hearth, the solitary room, the prison cell.

Stories by Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, and Edith Wharton, as well as by others less familiar, reveal a universe of emotions hidden beneath parochial scenes.

American writers claimed the short story as their national genre in the nineteenth century, and women writers made it the most important outlet for their particular experiences.

A unique selection, with an introduction, notes, selected criticism, and a chrolonology of the authors' lives and times.

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