Monthly Archives: September 2012

Pioneering Spirit

ImageAfter finding this wonderful book, “Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West” by Dorothy Wickenden, I started to wonder if there were any experiences now-a-days which would compare to the one these girls took on in the very early twentieth century.  Two women, Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood–Smith-educated women of society–answered an advertisement for a teaching job in the wilds of northwestern Colorado.  They made the treacherous journey there, risked physical harm from unfriendly inhabitants, disease, hardship, and the heartbreak of their young charges.  The stories of the lives of their pupils’ families are a vivid window into the past of the American West.  This book is chock full of interesting little facts of the past–the history of women’s colleges, the expansion of the mining towns, the background on the Utes tribe… But despite the interest in the mix, it sometimes makes for difficult reading.  I, and other readers, got bogged down in the shift of topic, especially in the critical first few chapters before our heroines set off on their journey.  I was just anxious for the adventure to begin, and was frustrated by the side-bars.  Nonetheless, it is a great story, all the more so because it features my favorite kind of hero: plucky young women who are bucking the system.  So, back to my original question: is there a “Wild Frontier” experience now, which would equate to what these women walked into?  I would love to hear your opinions!

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