Women who Pioneered Oklahoma: Stories from the WPA Narratives

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Terri M. Baker, Connie Oliver Henshaw
University of Oklahoma Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 226 pages

Interviews of Oklahoma history’s diverse women

They came in land runs and on the Trail of Tears, sometimes with families, sometimes alone. But the women who first came to Oklahoma all had trials to face—and stories to tell.

In this stirring collection, the women who settled what would become Oklahoma tell their own stories in their own words. From thousands of interviews conducted by the Work Projects Administration in 1936–37 and preserved in the Indian Pioneer Papers of Oklahoma, editors Terri M. Baker and Connie Oliver Henshaw have selected the words of women from a wide range of socioeconomic groups, ethnic backgrounds, and geographical locations to relate the pioneer experience as it was really lived.

Elegantly written, skillfully edited, Women Who Pioneered Oklahoma reflects the everyday will and courage to survive of Oklahoma’s founding mothers. It conveys the violence of a frontier culture set in a landscape of stark beauty where death was always just a heartbeat away. A vital part of the state centennial, theirs is the story of real Oklahoma, writ large—and in a distinctly female hand.

 

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Contents

General History
3
Making a Home
44
Living with the Animals
75
Facing Adversity
92
Coping with Lawlessness
138
Creating a Life
153
Reflecting on the Experience
195
Bibliography
213
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About the author (2007)

Terri M. Baker , a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is Professor of English at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where she focuses on American Indian literature.

M. Susan Savage , currently Oklahoma Secretary of State, is the first woman to have served as Tulsa Mayor.

Connie Oliver Henshaw , who researches women of the nineteenth century, is an Instructor in the Department of Languages and Literature in the College of Liberal Arts at Northeastern State University.

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