Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier by Joanna L. Stratton
Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier
by Joanna L. Stratton

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine being a woman in the mid 1800s. Your family has decided to try their luck in the west, looking for free land. These journeys across the frontier were far from glamorous - it was a life of arduous toil. Women packed their lives into a wagon and traveled for hundreds of miles across the frontier in search of a better life.

Much of the work in establishing a home, feeding the family, working in the fields and all other manner of domesticity fell into the hands of women. For many of these women - who came from the more established Eastern states, it was an extremely difficult time as they were often left on their own - in the middle of nowhere - with their children and neighbors few and far between. Many of the books that have been written on this subject offer hundreds of first hand accounts.

Life on the frontier was not limited to the American west. Women in Australia during the 1800s also endured a similar lifestyle. The 'free settlers' were enticed by the opportunity to start a new life and they became a hardworking and influential part of colonial Australia. There are numerous firsthand accounts from women who moved to the inhospitable bush of Canada and carved out an existence using sheer will and determination. Susanna Moodie and Catherine Par Traill are well known sisters who wrote about their experiences as settlers in Canada. To learn more about this fascinating time, Jane Robinson's Parrot Pie for Breakfast, is an anthology of stories about women settlers in North America, Africa, Australia and India and many other points inbetween.

Pioneer women were the backbone of the homesteaders who moved west and traveled to lands unfamiliar to them. Fortunately, there are countless numbers of books that provide a fascinating insight into the lives of these strong, resilient women.

 

American Wild West

Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel
Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey
by Lillian Schlissel

Provides insight about the lives of women who participated in the western migration.
Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier by Chris Enss
Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier
by Chris Enss

Hearts West brings to life true stories of mail-order brides of the Gold Rush era.
Days on the Road: Crossing the Plains in 1865 by Sarah Raymond Herndon
Days on the Road: Crossing the Plains in 1865
by Sarah Raymond Herndon

A diary from a 24 year old who travelled west with her mother and two brothers not knowing where they'd settle.
Women of the West by Cathy Luchetti
Women of the West
by Cathy Luchetti

A myth-shattering look at the women who helped to settle the West, told through their own words and illustrated with 150 period photographs.
Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy
Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier
by Linda Peavy

Describes the hardships such women endured journeying west and making homes and communities on the frontier.
Bassett Women by Grace McClure
Bassett Women
by Grace McClure

The Bassett Women is one of the few creditable accounts of early settlers on Colorado's western slope, one of the last strongholds of the Old West.
Pioneer Doctor: The Story of Woman's Work by Mari Grana
Pioneer Doctor: The Story of Woman's Work
by Mari Grana

The true story of a medicine woman who found opportunity in the wide-open spaces of America's frontier west and changed history for the rest of us.
With Great Hope: Women of the California Gold Rush by JoAnn Chartier
With Great Hope: Women of the California Gold Rush
by JoAnn Chartier

The fascinating stories of twelve uncommon women, the significant events of the times, and the everyday occurrences of life in the gold camps.
Frontier Teachers: Stories of Heroic Women of the Old West by Chris Enss
Frontier Teachers
by Chris Enss

Frontier Teachers tells the stories of intrepid women who faced down rooms full of children on the open prairies and in the mining towns to bring them educational opportunities.
Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Letters of a Woman Homesteader
by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Originally published in 1914, letters from a woman who took up homesteading in Burnt Fork, Wyoming, in 1909, to prove that a woman could ranch.

Australian Outback

Pioneer Women of the Bush and Outback by Jennifer Isaacs
Pioneer Women of the Bush and Outback
by Jennifer Isaacs

Explores the history and influence of ordinary women in the bush and in country towns during the last two centuries.
No Place for a Nervous Lady: Voices from the Australian Bush by Lucy Frost
No Place for a Nervous Lady: Voices from the Australian Bush
by Lucy Frost

The harshness of the Australian frontier is brought into vivid detail with this collection of diaries and letters from women living in the Outback.
Australian Pioneer Women by Eve Pownall
Australian Pioneer Women
by Eve Pownall

Examines the lives of women pioneers of the pastoral industry, the goldfields and the inland.
Nothing to Spare: Recollections of Australian Pioneering Women by Jan Carter
Nothing to Spare: Recollections of Australian Pioneering Women
by Jan Carter

This book records the memories of women who grew up in Western Australia between 1890 -1914.
This Mad Folly: History of Australia's Pioneer Women Doctors by Neve, M. Hutton
This Mad Folly: History of Australia's Pioneer Women Doctors
by Neve, M. Hutton

Chronicles the history of women in the Australian medical profession, includes photographs of historical interest.

Canadian Frontier

Sisters in the Wilderness by Charlotte Gray
Sisters in the Wilderness
by Charlotte Gray

In the inhospitable and hardscrabble bush of Canada, facing a pioneering existence that they never even knew existed, the sisters turned to the pen to ease their loneliness and isolation.
The New North: An Account of a Woman's 1908 Journey Through Canada to the Arctic by Agnes Deans Cameron
The New North: An Account of a Woman's 1908 Journey Through Canada to the Arctic
by Agnes Deans Cameron

The story of a six month journey down the Mackenzie River in Canada by the author and her niece in 1908.
A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada: The Journals, Letters and Art of Anne Langton by Barbara Williams
A Gentlewoman in Upper Canada: The Journals, Letters and Art of Anne Langton
by Barbara Williams

Reveals Langton's views on writing, art, and women's social and familial roles in nineteenth-century Europe and Canada.
The Backwoods of Canada by Catherine Parr Traill
The Backwoods of Canada
by Catherine Parr Traill

Originally published in 1836, this is an account of Parr Traill's first three years in Canada.
Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie
Roughing it in the Bush
by Susanna Moodie

A frank chronicle of Moodie's harsh & humorous experiences in homesteading with her family in the woods of Upper Canada.

British Explorers

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
by Elspeth Huxley

Huxley recalls her childhood on the small farm at a time when Europeans waged their fortunes on a land that was as harsh as it was beautiful.
Women's Orients: English Women and the Middle East by Billie Melman
Women's Orients: English Women and the Middle East
by Billie Melman

A study of two centuries of British women's travel to the Middle East provides new perspectives for understanding the history of colonialism.
Among Stone Giants by Jo Anne Van Tilburg
Among Stone Giants
by Jo Anne Van Tilburg

From 1913-1915 Katherine and her husband led the Mana Expedition to Easter Island, where Katherine conducted the first ever excavations of the island's stone statues.
Lady Hester Stanhope: The Unconventional Life of the Queen of the Desert by Joan Haslip
Lady Hester Stanhope: The Unconventional Life of the Queen of the Desert
by Joan Haslip

Lady Hester Stanhope at the turn of the eighteenth century left her homeland and travelled through Cairo, Jaffa, Damascus, Palmyra.
Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Fletcher Geniesse
Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark
by Jane Fletcher Geniesse

Leaving behind a miserable family life, Freya set out, at the age of thirty-four, to explore remote and dangerous regions of the Middle East.

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