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Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier

“Using photographs from more than 30 archives and anecdotes drawn from letters, diaries, local histories, and oral history interviews, Peavy and Smith, popular writers who have collaborated frequently in the past, reconstruct the world of frontier women, emphasizing...their determination to persevere...Topics include traveling to the west, establishing new homes, maintaining families, women's work inside and outside the home, and community activities. The richly detailed, evocative, and sure to stimulate interest in its subject matter...[It] serves as a needed corrective for the more romanticized versions of western history.”



“If only one book about women in the West were available, this certainly would be an appropriate choice.”

--Westerners Bookshelf


Pioneer Women is intelligent and well-written, a welcome addition even for readers who know the field.”

--Lillian Schlissel, Women's Diaries
of the Westward Journey


Pioneer Women is the successful result of the ambitious undertaking of the authors, who wished to provide a one-volume overview of women's experiences in the American West...[The work provides] a multicultural perspective that includes the experiences of Native American women and [other] women of color as well as those of recent immigrants from Europe...a fine introduction to the history of westering women.”

--Book Talk


“Focusing mainly upon the decades from the 1840s into the early 20th century, Pioneer a successful blend of the popular and academic, and its extensive bibliography a boon to readers who want to delve more deeply.”

--Journal of the West

"Pioneer Women offers a rare look at frontier life through the eyes of the women who settled the American West. The authors portray a wide variety of women, from those who found liberty in 'men's work' to those who felt burdened by the weather and the struggle of frontier life. They include the experiences of women of all colors as well as colorful and infamous figures such as Calamity Jane and Carry Nation. The women's hardships, hopes, fears, and courage are revealed in excerpts from journals, letters, and oral histories. A fascinating collection of photos reveals the faces as well as the voices of frontier women." 

--University of Oklahoma Press jacket copy