Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939

Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939

by Peggy Pascoe
     
 

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In this study of late nineteeth-century moral reform, Peggy Pascoe examines four specific cases—a home for Chinese prostitutes in San Francisco, California; a home for polygamous Mormon women in Salt Lake City, Utah; a home for unmarried mothers in Denver, Colorado; and a program for American Indians on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska—to tell the story

Overview

In this study of late nineteeth-century moral reform, Peggy Pascoe examines four specific cases—a home for Chinese prostitutes in San Francisco, California; a home for polygamous Mormon women in Salt Lake City, Utah; a home for unmarried mothers in Denver, Colorado; and a program for American Indians on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska—to tell the story of the women who established missionary rescue homes for women in the American West. Focusing on two sets of relationships—those between women reformers and their male opponents, and those between women reformers and the various groups of women they sought to shelter—Pascoe traces the gender relations that framed the reformers' search for female moral authority, analyzes the interaction between women reformers and the women who entered the rescue homes, and raises provocative questions about historians' understanding of the dynamics of social feminism, social control, and intercultural relations.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pascoe's brilliant analysis of Protestant women's home mission organizations is indispensable reading for any historian of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century America. Organized and written with verve and clarity."—American Historical Review

"Has a good chance of becoming one of the benchmark studies in women's history. It brings together issues of race and class, gender and region, and then relates them to ideology."—Women's Review of Books

"A highly sophisticated analysis....Pascoe not only fills a gap in the historical literature on female voluntary associations, but also accomplishes much more."—Western Historical Quarterly

"The best study yet of women's skillful manipulation of Victorian attitudes in the American west....This engrossing book...is graced by clear, precise writing about women's issues unhindered by shrillness and whining. A scholarly joy to read."—Choice

"Her chief concern, the history of women in the West, represents some of the bolder and more intensely revisionist themes of the new historians....One of her underlying themes is that the inclusion of women does not merely enrich the overall picture; it changes it dramatically....'Exclude women from Western history, and unreality sets in. Restore them, and the Western drama gains a fully human cast of characters—males and females whose urges, needs, failings, and conflicts we can recognize and even share.'" —The New York Times Magazine

"Pascoe's closely argued...analysis...of 'woman's work for woman' in the West is as timely as it is provocative."—The Nation

"An original and important work....Provides a masterful analysis of feminist ideology, intercultural relations among women, and the dynamics of social control."—Annals of Iowa

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195060089
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1990
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.56(h) x 1.06(d)

Meet the Author

University of Oregon

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