"In riveting detail that builds to insightful crescendo, Girl Explorers reveals feats and firsts of remarkable achievers who we'd already know if they weren't women. It's about time." - Dr. Margaret Willson, cultural anthropologist and author of Seawomen of Iceland
"With careful research and clear enthusiasm for her subjects, Zanglein makes a strong case that restoring these pioneers to the spotlight will "give a new generation of women courage to chisel away at the glass ceiling." Armchair adventurers will thrill to this inspirational account." - Publishers Weekly
"The Girl Explorers takes the reader on adventures with American women explorers of the early 1900s...Early members were suffragists, mountain climbers, aviators, polar explorers, scientists, geographers, anthropologists, prison reformers, as well as civil rights activists and politicians...These women are finally being given the credit they deserve in this interesting new book that men and women, and young and old will enjoy." - Caroline (Siffy) Torkildson, current president the Society of Woman Geographers
"Jayne Zanglein's THE GIRL EXPLORERS is both a celebration and a reminder that not only can women hike, climb, fly, and swim with the best of them, but they've been doing it all along...This well-researched and enjoyable book restores women to their proper place in history, which is: anywhere they want to go." - Melissa L. Sevigny, author of Mythical River and Under Desert Skies
"The Girl Explorers profiles intrepid women who dared to leave their skirts under rocks to boldly occupy space their male counterparts did. A compelling collection of intrepid women pilots, scientists, mountain climbers, social reformers, and more it uniquely celebrates the work of lesser-known explorers. Highly recommended!" - Kathryn Aalto, author of Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World
"Jayne Zanglein's The Girl Explorers...details the exploits of Pearl Buck, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Mead, Jane Goodall and a dozen other world travelers who challenged gender norms and sought out amazing adventures in remote parts of the world the likes of which their sex had never seen before. They were the first in many cases, but luckily for women everywhere, they were not the last." - East-West News Service
"The book offers fascinating glimpses into lives that are as inspiring as they are unconventional. " - Kirkus Reviews
"Zanglein comprehensively covers a wide range of accomplished women, and does all of them justice. This book is perfect for those interested in women's history and adventure stories." - Library Journal
"Writing in a conversational, often first-person voice, Zanglein profiles 17 intrepid members and chronicles their adventures and missions of inclusion and compassion within vivid historical contexts and via archival photographs...As different as their backgrounds were, Zanglein's "cast of characters" shared a commitment to learning about the world first-hand and championing human rights. A fascinating addition to women's history and the annals of exploration." - Booklist
Zanglein (law, Western Carolina Univ.) takes readers on a journey to meet the lesser-known women who traveled the world in the early 20th century. The author focuses on the Society of Women Geographers, and follows the four founding members: novelist and travel writer Blaire Niles, reporter and spy Marguerite Harrison, geographer Gertrude Emerson Sen, and writer Gertrude Matthews Shelby. In addition to following the lives of the four founders, Zanglein offers insight into the successes of other prominent members, such as Chickasaw Nation citizen Ta Ata as well as nurse and journalist Ellen La Motte. Notably, while acknowledging that there were no Black women among the early members of the Society of Women Geographers, Zanglein mentions that many of the women involved in the Society were also active in the NAACP, as they sought to fight back against discrimination. With chapters moving year-by-year, the author recounts how Niles and Matthews Shelby, especially, fought against the stigma of women traveling without a chaperone. Maps and illustrations are a highlight. VERDICT Zanglein comprehensively covers a wide range of accomplished women, and does all of them justice. This book is perfect for those interested in women's history and adventure stories.—Rebecca Kluberdanz, Central New York Lib. Resources Council, Syracuse
A lawyer’s account of trailblazing women who made history through their travels and their founding of the Society of Women Geographers.
In her “first non-law book,” Zanglein, who has traveled to 58 countries, reveals how a group of early-20th-century female explorers went about proving wrong the men who doubted their skills, grit, and professionalism. The author focuses on writer and world traveler Blair Niles (1880-1959), whose novels about Devil’s Island convicts and gay men in Harlem helped her gain a reputation as "an advocate for marginalized and oppressed people.” Niles and several of her traveler friends founded the Society of Women Geographers in 1925 after being excluded from the all-male Explorers Club. The wife of a prominent zoologist named Will Beebe, Niles caused a scandal in 1913 by divorcing him (he never acknowledged her assistance in his research) and marrying a younger man who shared her passion for travel. She took an active role in the women's suffrage movement, which put her into contact with such future Society members as Mary Ritter Beard, who had traveled the world "to recover women's history.” In an ironic twist, Beebe offered opportunities for research and travel to many of the women—such as science artist Anna Heward Taylor and zoologist and deep-sea diver Gloria Hollister—who eventually joined the Society. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white photos and narrated in a style that moves back and forth between expository and quasi-novelistic, the book offers fascinating glimpses into lives that are as inspiring as they are unconventional. While the story lacks diversity—all of Zanglein’s subjects were White, and many came from privileged backgrounds—the author’s message, that "only when male bastions crumble will society be whole and history complete," is both topical and important.
Informative reading on a subject with which many readers will be unfamiliar.