The Female Frontier: A Comparative View of Women on the Prairie and the Plains
This book introduces the important concept of a female frontier—a frontier "every bit as real and coherent, as, for example, the mining frontier." It gives us a new understanding of western women's shared experiences and of the full implications of their participation in America's westward movement.
Riley has reconstructed women's roles and concerns from census data, legal proceedings, newspaper accounts, local histories, essays, sermons, novels, photographs, works of art, and in large part from their own words, as recorded in diaries, day books, journals, letters, memoirs, reminiscences, and interviews. These women include the barely literate and the educated, the young and the old, single and married, white and black, native-born and immigrant. What emerges is a new understanding of the shared experiences—at home, in paid employment, and in community activities—that constituted the female frontier.