The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 544

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Mendez Gonzales (specialist on Mexicans and capitalism), and Rina
Swentzell (specialist on Pueblo Indians).
Other lead essays focus on domestic ideology, the religious psychol-
ogy of Indian-white marriage, Mexican women and work between
1930-1950, woman's place and the landscape, cross-cultural marriage
in the fur trade, legal rights of Native Americans, comparative fron-
tiers (California and New Zealand), and the uses of historic sites.
The lead essays are uniformly of high quality and the commentaries
complement and supplement them well. This book belongs in any li-
brary collection of western history or U.S. women's history and could
serve as a supplemental textbook for an upper-division or graduate-
level course in western history.
U.S. Military Academy D'ANN CAMPBELL
Ella Elgar Bird Dumont: An Autobiography of a West Texas Pioneer. Edited
by Tommy J. Boley. Foreword by Emily Cutrer. (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1988. Pp. xlii+227. Foreword, preface, acknowledg-
ments, illustrations, afterword, notes, bibliography, index. $19.95.)
One book alone cannot correct the common literary stereotypes of
western women; Ella Elgar Bird Dumont's autobiography, however,
will serve as a reminder that real women cannot be neatly categorized.
As an adult she lived principally in Cottle County in West Texas from
the 187os until her death in 1943. She experienced life as buffalo
hunter, rancher, town dweller, wife, and widow.
Not only does Dumont's autobiography help correct literary stereo-
types, it serves as a corrective to the feminist historians' rather morose
view of the history of women on the frontier, on the one hand, and the
optimistic view of the frontier as a liberating place for women, on the
other. Dumont's life illustrates that the frontier was both liberating and
Dumont was a woman of considerable artistic talent, entrepreneurial
acumen, ingenuity, and resourcefulness; throughout her life these
qualities served her well. Moreover, Dumont suffered grievous per-
sonal loss with the deaths of three of her five children, both husbands,
and other family members. Her inability to realize fully her talents as a
sculptor constituted another personal loss. Although her "whole soul
was in it," her ambition to be a sculptor "had to be crushed" because
"other duties of a household nature were calling [her] in the opposite
direction" (p. 53)-
Another significant feature of Dumont's life was her relationships
with other women: her sister, mother, daughter, other relatives, friends,
and boarders. These relationships provided emotional and practical


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. ( accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.