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Great women of the Old West
Publication Information:
Minneapolis Minn. : Compass Point Books, c2001.
Physical Description:
48 p. : ill., map. ; 24 cm.
Sacagawea -- Indian women at work and war -- The Spanish women -- Crossing the Plains -- The pioneer women -- The African-American Women -- Making new lives -- The spirit of the Old West.
Geographic Term:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 978.7 ALT 1 1

On Order



Describes women's lives and roles during the Old West days of nineteenth century United States. Includes profiles of Native American women, Spanish women and African-American women.

Author Notes

Judy Alter was born in 1938. She earned a B.A. from the University of Chicago, followed by a Ph.D. in English with special interest in the literature of the American West from Texas Christian University, and an M.Ed. in English from Truman State University.

Alter is an author of books for adults and young readers. Her novel Mattie won a Spur Award from Western Writers of America as the best western novel of 1987; Luke and the Van Zandt County War was named the best juvenile of 1984 by the Texas Institute of Letters. Fool Girl and Sue Ellen Learns to Dance, won the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, with Sue Ellen also winning a Spur from WWA.

Alter has been director of TCU Press Texas, since 1987. She is a past president of Western Writers of America and served several years as secretary-treasurer of the Texas Institute of Letters. In 1989 the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women named her one of the Outstanding Women of Fort Worth.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-This overview covers the years from Sacagawea's participation in the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the turn of the last century. Addressing the lives and contributions of American Indian, Hispanic, Caucasian, and black women, the focus remains for the most part on traditional roles-home, church, and family. For example, American Indian women are portrayed as doing planting and harvesting, herding animals, raising children, creating artwork, cooking, and watching battles "-from a safe distance." Their political clout in tribal life is never mentioned. The section on Caucasian women shifts from drudging west, trying to keep their clothes clean and their toddlers out from under wagon wheels and oxen's hooves, to introducing a number of independent figures who gained the freedom to become doctors, sharpshooters, and miners, among other traditionally male roles. Period reproductions and photographs enhance the attractively laid out text, which has wide borders and large print. Unfortunately, in the last two chapters, pictures of specific women appear a page or two before they are identified in the text. The list of important people (two American Indian and four Caucasian women) seems oddly selected. However, the lists of further reading, Web sites, and institutional resources are sound, as is the one-page index. The author's own Extraordinary Women of the American West (Children's, 1999), though aimed at a slightly older audience, is a better source of information-detailed and interesting, and not torqued to fit series requirements.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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