The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 400
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Georgi-Findlay analyzes these women's books with special consideration given to
issues regarding language, representation, and power.
She concludes that the women were as "complicit" as men, in the "narrative of
westward expansion" (p. x). They, too, resorted to the rhetorical conventions of
colonial "discourse" and thus became "implicated in expansionist processes, al-
though in a different way than men" (p. 16). Expectations about women's prop-
er role limited their claims to authority and power and, consequently, they had
to negotiate through those "discourses that circumscribed women's roles" (p. x).
Nevertheless, Georgi-Findlay maintains, these women participated in defining
the boundaries of race, gender, nationality, and culture through their published
works. To look at them solely through the prism of gender is to underestimate
both their influence and complexity.
Georgi-Findlay also argues that women's narratives do not constitute one uni-
form tradition. Rather, the "discourses in which women locate their narratives
are diverse and heterogeneous" (p. 231). Yet she discovers some patterns or
common "tropes" including the tradition of the female apologia and profession
of marginal status and authority, the presentation of the West as "insecure terri-
tory" still contested by Indians, and the representation typical of colonial dis-
courses that deflects attention away from the unequal power between Indians
The author relies solely on published primary sources and demonstrates a fa-
miliarity with most of the appropriate secondary works. Some will find her infat-
uation with the jargon of postmodernism off-putting. For that reason general
readers may not find the book inviting. Historians will be amazed at her occa-
sional lapse into outrageous generalization, as when she announces that by 1876
"religion had lost its authority in American culture" (p. 147). Still, her efforts to
transcend simplistic assumptions about differences between men and women
(or similarities among white women) by demonstrating the complexity of their
views of the West, Indians, and the thorny problem of expansionism are worthy
of scholars' attentions.
University of Texas, El Paso SHERRY L. SMITH
Trading in Santa Fe: John M. Kingsbury's Correspondence with James Josiah Webb,
1853-1861. Edited by Jane Lenz Elder and DavidJ. Weber. Foreword by Stan-
ley Marcus. (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1996. Pp. xxxix+327.
Acknowledgments, foreword, introduction, conventions, afterword, appendix,
sources, index, illustrations. ISBN 0-87074-389-9- $19-95, paper.)
In 1853 two New Englanders, John M. Kingsbury, age twenty-four, and James
Josiah Webb, age thirty-five, formed a partnership in which Kingsbury, who had
little previous experience, went to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory, to manage
sales and collections for what would become the prominent mercantile firm of
Webb & Kingsbury. James Webb, the senior partner, who had owned stores in
New England, Savannah, St. Louis, and Santa Fe, supplied Kingsbury with mer-
chandise that he presumed Santa Fe residents would want to buy.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/466/?rotate=270: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.