Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey

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Overview

More than a quarter of a million Americans crossed the continental United States between 1840 and 1870, going west in one of the greatest migrations of modern times. The frontiersmen have become an integral part of our history and folklore, but the Westering experiences of American women are equally central to an accurate picture of what life was like on the frontier.

Through the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of women who participated in this migration, Women’s Diaries of ...

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Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey

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Overview

More than a quarter of a million Americans crossed the continental United States between 1840 and 1870, going west in one of the greatest migrations of modern times. The frontiersmen have become an integral part of our history and folklore, but the Westering experiences of American women are equally central to an accurate picture of what life was like on the frontier.

Through the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of women who participated in this migration, Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey gives us primary source material on the lives of these women, who kept campfires burning with buffalo chips and dried weeds, gave birth to and cared for children along primitive and dangerous roads, drove teams of oxen, picked berries, milked cows, and cooked meals in the middle of a wilderness that was a far cry from the homes they had left back east. Still (and often under the disapproving eyes of their husbands) they found time to write brave letters home or to jot a few weary lines at night into the diaries that continue to enthrall us.

In her new foreword, Professor Mary Clearman Blew explores the enduring fascination with this subject among both historians and the general public, and places Schlissel’s groundbreaking work into an intriguing historical and cultural context.

"The first study of the Overland Trail to be based exclusively on women's diaries and reminiscences."--The American Historical Review

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YA-- A revised edition of Schlissel's 1982 book Schocken about the journey westward in mid-19th-century America from the point of view of the women involved. Readers will find first-person narrations by the women themselves after an extensive 160 pages introduction that not only sets the scene, but also adequately describes the trials and tribulations on this difficult journey. The author has added an entry from the diary of a 16-year-old bride that presents a lighter side of the trek. A worthwhile addition not only for frontier studies but also for its perspective on women's issues.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805211764
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/6/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 307,370
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 10.62 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Lillian Schlissel is Professor Emerita at Brooklyn College. She is the coeditor of Far from Home: Families of the Westward Journey and of The Western Women’s Reader. She lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Families in transit I, 1841-1850 19
Families in transit II, 1851-1855 76
The later journeys, 1856-1867 118
The diaries
A woman's trip across the plains in 1849 165
Notes by the wayside en route to Oregon, 1852 187
Diary, 1853 199
Touring from Mitchell, Iowa, to California, 1862 217
A sketch of her life 233
Diary, 1867 241
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    It's like taking a step back in time...

    A truly wonderful book, filled with person to person 'true life' accounts of their trials and tribulations. I truly felt as if I rode in their wagon too! I experienced their happiness, sorrow, weariness, excitement and fear. It was some journey. I cannot wait to go on the next one...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2003

    A heart-wrenching account of the day-to-day trials endured by the sisters of our past

    This is a must-read for anyone interested in what life was like for the women who made this incredible journey. Faced with innumerable obstacles and hardships, these brave and stong-willed women were fiercely determined to make the best of what life had thrown at them. A truly inspiring story that will make you appreciate even the tiniest luxuries in life today.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2011

    Don't miss this one

    A great inside view of those brave pioneers that crossed the US. I loved this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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