The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 535
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Protestant missionary wives and mission teachers who went to New Mexico Ter-
ritory to convert the Native Americans and Hispanics. Mission boards sought
married couples in the expectation that wives would be working partners re-
sponsible for conducting elementary schools as well as setting an example of
Christian family life for Indian women. As their own families increased and
demanded more time, however, domestic responsibilities forced many mission-
ary wives to relinquish their roles as teachers, and the couple's joint venture
often reverted to the traditional pattern of sex-segregated activity. By contrast,
unmarried mission teachers often became skilled administrators and commu-
nity leaders; Alice Blake even spent her leaves acquiring medical training so
that she could also function as a nurse for her remote mission.
The women described as visitors to New Mexico went under government
auspices. Foote explores this experience through the correspondence and di-
aries of two army wives who made post homes for their officer husbands in the
1850s. Their accounts are juxtaposed with the experience of a working-class
woman, Ellen Williams, who spent the Civil War as a laundress and nurse for
the Colorado regiment in which her husband served, and with the story of
Josephine Clifford, who suffered months of domestic violence from her alco-
holic and mentally unbalanced husband-an officer with the Third Cavalry-
before she was able to escape. The final chapter describes the work of Matilda
Coxe Stevenson, the region's first woman anthropologist, who learned how to
do fieldwork by assisting her husband, a scientist with the Bureau of American
Ethnology; after his death she joined the bureau staff and conducted and pub-
lished landmark studies on the Zuni.
In Janet Robertson's The Magnificent Mountan Women the scene shifts to the
Colorado mountains and the chronology from 1858, when Julia Archibald
Holmes-wearing bloomers and accompanied by her husband and a guide-
became the first Anglo woman to climb Pikes Peak, to the contemporary recre-
ational rock climbers, of whom the author is one. The intervening chapters,
however, introduce other types of "mountain women"-botanists, home-
steaders, and conservationists. The story of Dr. Susan Anderson serves as an
example of the opportunity that the frontier could provide for women: in the
mining boomtown of Cripple Creek and the remote mountain hamlet of Fraser
she found none of the resistance to a "lady doctor" that kept her from practic-
ing in Denver and Greeley.
Robertson's volume is a collection of biographical sketches without an ana-
lytical framework or a unifying theme beyond the author's observation that the
women "initiated their mountain experiences and related to the mountains in
ways that should be remembered" (p. xiv). It is a smorgasboard of interesting
stories that introduces more characters than the reader can readily keep ac-
So Much to Be Done: Women Settlers on the Mining and Ranching Frontzer brings
together a selection of nineteen post-Civil War narratives and diaries by
women in three frontier regions: California and Nevada, the Rocky Mountains
and high plains, and the southwestern desert. About half are from manuscript
collections and the remainder from relatively obscure printed sources; nearly
all are by Anglo women. Taken as a whole the narratives illustrate the editors'
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/m1/611/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.