Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849

Overview

The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the ...
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Overview

The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the mundane to the soul-shattering and spirit-lifting.
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Editorial Reviews

Wagon Tracks
“An outstanding collection of primary sources written by women moving west.”—Wagon Tracks
Pacific Historical Review

Covered Wagon Women is to be valued. . . . First, it brings together in a single edition a major collection of the diaries of overland women. . . . Second, this is probably the most perfectly documented edition a researcher will find.”—Lillian Schlissel, Pacific Historical Review

— Lillian Schlissel

Western Historical Quarterly

“Kenneth L. Holmes made the very wise editorial decision not to update, revise, or parenthetically correct the quirky and often fascinating prose of these nineteenth-century women. . . . The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon . . . and it should be a gold mine for students of everyday life.”—John Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterly

— John Mack Faragher

Western Historical Quarterly - John Mack Faragher
“Kenneth L. Holmes made the very wise editorial decision not to update, revise, or parenthetically correct the quirky and often fascinating prose of these nineteenth-century women. . . . The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon . . . and it should be a gold mine for students of everyday life.”—John Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterly
Pacific Historical Review - Lillian Schlissel
Covered Wagon Women is to be valued. . . . First, it brings together in a single edition a major collection of the diaries of overland women. . . . Second, this is probably the most perfectly documented edition a researcher will find.”—Lillian Schlissel, Pacific Historical Review
Western Historical Quarterly
"Kenneth L. Holmes made the very wise editorial decision not to update, revise, or parenthetically correct the quirky and often fascinating prose of these nineteenth-century women. . . . The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon . . . and it should be a gold mine for students of everyday life."

— John Mack FaragJohn Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterlyher

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803272774
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Series: Latin American Women Writers Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 334,240
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth L. Holmes was a professor of history at Western Oregon State College. He edited and compiled Covered Wagon Women, drawing on archives and private sources. Anne M. Butler, a professor of history at Utah State University–Logan, is the author of Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West. 
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Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction 11
Across the Plains in 1845
The Letter - The Journey in 1846 35
A Letter from the Luckiamute Valley
The Letter, from Oregon, 1846 41
A Brimfield Heroine
Letter I, The Journey, 1846 50
Letter II, In Oregon, 1846-1851 59
The Donner Party Letters
Tamsen E. Donner's Letter I 68
Tamsen E. Donner's Letter II, June 1846 70
Virginia E. B. Reed's Letter I, July 1846 72
Virginia E. B. Reed's Letter II, May 1847 74
Two Letters of Phoebe Stanton
A Letter from Missouri, 1847 87
A Letter from Oregon, 1856 90
Letters from a Quaker Woman: Rachel Fisher
Letter from Fort Laramie, 1847 99
Letter from Tualatin County, 1848 103
The Diary of Elizabeth Dixon Smith
The Diary, 1847-1848 116
Two Letters from Oregon, 1850 148
Epilogue: Poems of Elizabeth Markham 153
A Pioneer Mormon Diary: Patty Sessions
The Diary of 1847 165
Epilogue and Bibliography 185
The Commentaries of Keturah Belknap
The Running Commentary, 1839-1848 194
The Diary of a Pioneer Girl
The Diary, 1849-1850 234
A Letter from California
The Letter from San Diego, 1849 250
Running a Boarding House in the Mines, 1849 271
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