A Mine of Her Own: Women Prospectors in the American West, 1850-1950

Overview


From the California gold rush through the mid–twentieth century, a special breed of women played an integral and heretofore unrecognized part in some of the most stirring adventures of the pioneer experience: the saintly Nellie Cashman; the copper queen Ferminia Sarras, known for her grand sprees; the former rodeo champion turned prospector; the ex-actress who snowshoed her way to Nome; and many more. Chosen as one of the top ten books of all time by the Mining History Association, A Mine of Her Own tells the ...
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Overview


From the California gold rush through the mid–twentieth century, a special breed of women played an integral and heretofore unrecognized part in some of the most stirring adventures of the pioneer experience: the saintly Nellie Cashman; the copper queen Ferminia Sarras, known for her grand sprees; the former rodeo champion turned prospector; the ex-actress who snowshoed her way to Nome; and many more. Chosen as one of the top ten books of all time by the Mining History Association, A Mine of Her Own tells the definitive story of America's women prospectors for the first time.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The common image of the frontier woman as the Madonna of the Prairies does not describe the woman prospector. These women were determined and independent, says Zanjani Goldfield, LJ 10/1/92. Often shunning marriage, companionship, and children, they wandered the frontier from the era of the California gold rush on into the 20th century. A few struck it rich; others found barely enough mineral resources to provide a basic living. Zanjani maintains that accumulation of wealth was not always their goal. These women hungered for silence and space, seeking solace in nature. Sketchy records make it hard to determine how many women prospectors there were, but Zanjani offers vignettes of more than 100. This important contribution to women's history is recommended for all libraries.Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Bloomsbury Review
"The female figures presented here represent far more than a mere reversal of stereotypes. Perhaps because of the immense cultural chasm they crossed, these individuals were not simply women with a touch of 'gold fever,' but unique and even enigmatic characters. . . . An entrancing read."—Bloomsbury Review
San Francisco Chronicle
"A Mine of Her Own proves we can still be surprised at the things women have done. . . . Delightfully unexpected is the evidence of the charisma these enterprising women manifested, their frequent romantic liaisons and their propensity as they aged to choose young, strong husbands."—San Francisco Chronicle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803299160
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 375
  • Sales rank: 1,402,188
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Sally Zanjani is adjunct political science professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Sarah Winnemucca (2001).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Prospecting 1
Pt. 1 1850-1918
1 Ellen Cashman: Angel and Wild Woman 25
2 Ferminia Sarras: The Copper Queen 60
3 "Hustlers of No Mean Ability": Women on Their Own 85
4 The Steam Engine and the Lost Breyfogle: Dubious Enterprises 121
5 Ellen Nay: Native Daughter 141
6 "Hers Were the Only Hands to Assist Me": Daughters, Sisters, Wives, and Lovers 165
Pt. 2 1919-1950
7 Queen Mary and the Tugboat Annie of the Desert: The Postwar Era 205
8 "Hit Rock Bottom Hard Enough to Bounce": The Depression Years 236
9 "Listen and the Mountains Will Talk to You": Happy Days and Panamint Annie 263
10 Anna Rechel: The Last Prospector in Rawhide 284
Epilogue: A Century of Women Prospectors 301
Notes 319
Bibliography 353
Index 365
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