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Women Writers of the West: Five Chroniclers of the Frontier


Profiles five notable women driven to write and succeed at a time when ambition in women was viewed as a flaw, not an asset.
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Profiles five notable women driven to write and succeed at a time when ambition in women was viewed as a flaw, not an asset.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Toward the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, America's imagination was fired with exploration, gold discovery and conquering of the West-by men. Danneberg writes about five remarkable women, who, as the author puts it, succeeded when female ambition was considered a flaw, not an asset. Jessie Benton Freemont married beneath her social station when she wed John Charles Fremont. When Congress appointed him to explore the area between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, Jessie wrote his reports, making them something that can be read with pleasure today. Louise Clappe lived with her physician husband in the gold mining area of Colorado and frontier San Francisco. Her letters home eventually became the Dame Shirley Letters, still in print. Mary Hallock Foote, woodcut artist and friends of famous writer/poets such as Longfellow, married her engineer husband with the condition that marriage would not interfere with her career. While her husband designed the layout of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, she illustrated then wrote about her experiences in California. Hellen Hunt Jackson traveled alone to Colorado for her health, met her husband who also promised to enable her writing career, then became a champion of Native Americans who were being cruelly resettled. Her Ramona has stood the test of time. Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, a Sioux, lived life torn between her Indian roots and White Man's world. She wrote Old Indian Legends for children, then turned her considerable writing talent to advocate Indian rights. Danneberg writes each biography as creative nonfiction, presenting snippets from many viewpoints to form a complete-and pleasurable-readabout each woman. Part of the "Notable Western Women" series, this important book should be handed to young adult readers for pleasure or school curriculum. Danneberg makes history come alive. 2003, Fulcrum Publishing, Ages 12 to Adult.
— Judy Crowder
This slim volume is well organized, creatively edited and impressively informative about these five writers. Jesse Benton Fremont was the daughter of a powerful senator from Missouri and wife of the well-known explorer and 1856 Republican candidate for the Presidency on whose 1842 and 1846 exploration reports she collaborated. Louise Smith Clappe went west to the gold mining camps with her doctor husband and wrote lively, detailed letters describing life in the California mining camps. These letters were eventually published, in 1854 and 1855. Writer and illustrator Mary Halleck Foote went West with her engineer husband and wrote of her adventures in A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West. Helen Hunt Jackson, famous for her novel Ramona, is less well known for the extensive writing she did to champion the cause of the Native Americans who, in her view, were being badly mistreated by the US Government. Jackson's A Century of Dishonor was published in 1881. Gertrude Bonnin, or Zitkala-Sa, was a Yankton Sioux educated in a missionary boarding school. She eventually returned to her reservation in 1901. She wrote stories taken from her Native American heritage, but she also wrote widely in defense of her people and their rights. A bibliography on each writer is included. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Fulcrum, 87p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 18.
—Patricia Moore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555914646
  • Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/17/2003
  • Series: Notable Western Women Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Danneberg, a third-generation Colorado native, grew up listening to stories about her grandmother, a miner's daughter, and her great-grandmother, an Irish immigrant turned miner's wife. Love of these women and their stories started her lifelong admiration of all courageous women of the West. Danneberg lives in Denver with her husband and their two children.
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Table of Contents

Introduction v
Jessie Benton Fremont 1
Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe 17
Mary Hallock Foote 33
Helen Hunt Jackson 49
Gertrude Bonnin 67
Index 86
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