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eBook Frontier Women: Civilizing the West? 1840-1880 ePub

eBook Frontier Women: Civilizing the West? 1840-1880 ePub

by Julie Jeffrey

  • ISBN: 0809001411
  • Category: Humanities
  • Subcategory: Other
  • Author: Julie Jeffrey
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; Second Edition; Eighth Printing edition (July 1, 1979)
  • Pages: 256
  • ePub book: 1862 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1576 kb
  • Other: mbr mobi doc lrf
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 647


Start by marking Frontier Women: "Civilizing" the West? 1840-1880 as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Frontier Women is the classic history of women on America's frontiers, now updated and thoroughly revised

Civilizing" the West 1840-1880 is a great example of Professor Jeffrey's ability to uncover the contributions of women -from all walks of life- that helped shape the American West

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Jeffrey, Julie Roy. Publication date.

Julie Roy Jeffrey Frontier women: The trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1880 .

Frontier Women: The Trans-Mississippi West, 1840–1880. By Julie Roy Jeffrey. New York: Hill and Wang, 1979.

The classic history of women on America's frontiers, now updated and thoroughly revised. FRONTIER WOMEN is an imaginative and graceful account of the extraordinarily diverse contributions of women to the development of the American frontier. Author Julie Roy Jeffrey has expanded her original analysis to include the perspectives of African American and Native American women.


Cordalas Cordalas
Swordsong Swordsong
Very happy with book!
Frei Frei
This book appears to be an academic study based on paper research. It rambles over many subjects, occasionally pausing to overemphasize some topics. Some subjects are only loosely related to the subtitle. This is an early study of an important subject that has since been the focus of a good many publications. At this point, there are numerous first-hand, or well documented, accounts about women on the American frontier that are better source material than this book.

The original copyright date is 1979. At that time, there were still sources alive who were born during the period covered. Even today, there are people who remember stories told them by their mothers about life on "the frontier." Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the author did much field research in writing this book. Oddly, the bibliography is much more comprehensive than the book itself.

This book has more quotation marks than any other I have read. Usually they set off just a few words rather than a statement. It is a technique that the author uses to lend authenticity to an idea she is presenting. The approach is self-defeating in that its overuse leads the reader to doubt the author's confidence. Personally, it leaves me with much the same impression as do man-in-the-street interviews and newspaper letters-to-the-editor. It is always possible to find something that will support any argument.

The author admits early in the book that there is a problem with defining what the frontier is. Although Frederick Jackson Turner declared the frontier closed in the 1890s, there are many counties in the United States today that the government classes as frontier based on their sparse population. Many of the people in those areas relied on horses for transportation and making a living into the 1920s. Homes lacked electricity, water, and toilets. The women who settled in those areas were "frontier women" and much like those who settled in Kansas and Nebraska in the period that this book addresses.

Americans today tend to think of people on the frontier in terms of stereotypes. This is particularly true about people who live in the eastern United States. In general, this book supports those stereotypes, some of which are inaccurate at best. Early chapters address women on the west-bound trails and settling in remote areas. However, long before we reach the mid-point of the book, the focus is on mining towns, particularly the transient mining camps rather than established towns such as Butte. The more permanent towns that supported the camps - San Francisco, Portland, and Denver for example - are discussed briefly. This gives a picture of an urban population rather than an agrarian base for the frontier. In truth, these were transitory people rather than the citizenry that put down roots and formed communities. A good part of the "civilizing" of the west was due to the departure of the multitudes that lacked ties or an interest in the local community.

Many readers, at least western readers, will find the categorization of "civilization" so narrow as to distort the conclusions reached by the author. It is based on the stereotype of New England, Protestant upper class. In fact, reference to Protestant ministers and Protestant values occur frequently. There doesn't seem to be one mention of the Catholic Fathers, Sisters, and lay people who played a major role in transforming the west. The book assumes settlement was by people with a highly socialized background where gender roles were strictly defined and didn't overlap. Social customs and moral values were well developed in this assumed origination population. That this stereotype represents the western settlers is a misleading assumption. Many of the couples moving west were frontier people themselves, raised by families who had pushed the frontier west at an earlier date.

Only occasionally does the author address the ages of her subjects. Many of the women moving west were young, often recently married. These were not the refined, established social creatures reluctant to embark on a new life and adventure that the author describes. Despite saying that most of the women on the frontier were married, the author provides distorted statistics using census data that includes both single people and men.

Some claims are questionable at best. The author cites data from Kansas to conclude that the first teachers on the frontier were mostly male and the profession then migrated to become female. The first school in Montana was taught by a female and I see no evidence that males ever dominated the profession in Montana. I think the same would be true in several western states.

In general, the revision to address "women of color" is primarily about Native American women, with some mention of Spanish women. The material given is incomplete and poorly integrated. Actually, integration is probably impossible. The subject deserves separate coverage, probably several books since the assorted nations were so different. It is useless to attempt covering the Salish, Lakota, Navaho, Cherokee, and Métis experience with a single generalization. Again, to ignore the positive and negative contributions of the Catholic colonization and missionary work among the native populations is a great error.

The author fills many pages with an in-depth analysis of the Latter Day Saints in Utah. I am not well versed in this history and would be very interested in seeing a comprehensive review written by a Mormon historian. In any case, the focus Jeffrey gives the subject seems out of balance with the rest of the book. The same could be said of the coverage given the prohibition and suffrage movements.

If "frontier women" and "civilization" of the west is of interest to readers - and I sincerely hope it is - I suggest that they turn to other sources. Indeed, the bibliography of this book is a good place to start looking for titles. In addition, searching on the three words frontier, civilization, and women brings up a galaxy of books, many of recent publication.
Llallayue Llallayue
It reads like a school book. Boring.
Samut Samut
I had the pleasure of being taught by Julie Jeffrey as an undergraduate student at Goucher College. She taught me to look at American history from many different angles, especially the view of the "bit players" in history, those unsung, unrecognized men and women whose impact was as significant as those of the "main cast", just not nearly as well documented. "Civilizing" the West 1840-1880 is a great example of Professor Jeffrey's ability to uncover the contributions of women -from all walks of life- that helped shape the American West. Meticulously researched and written, I found the book had an easy flow and makes a compelling read. An excellent book in a genre usually dominated by the biographies of larger-than-life personalities.
Axebourne Axebourne
It was informative. I felt like there was too much about certain topics. I did enjoy reading it.