Women in Kentucky

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University Press of Kentucky, 2009 - History - 146 pages
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In the two hundred years since white women first came to Kentucky, most Kentucky women have been invisible to history. Yet from the first settlement, women contributed more to Kentucky life than is usually recognized.

To learn of a woman on horseback, fording a swift river, one child in her arms and one hanging on behind her, to find a woman improvising a substitute for flax, defending a fort under siege, or fighting off an Indian attacker, is to see women as active and full participants in the rough, precarious life of the settlements. The ordinary women of lonely frontier farms, the women both black and white whose lives were shaped by slavery, the laboring women of the factories and shops in rising urban centers are the primary subjects of this unusual book. But Ms. Irvin also tells of many exceptional Kentucky women whose lives became more visible: such women as abolitionist Delia Webster, suffragists Laura Clay and Madeline McDowell Breckinridge, philanthropists Mary Breckinridge and Linda Neville, reformer Carry Nation, scholar and educator Sophonisba Breckinridge, and physician Louise Gilman Hutchins. Women in Kentucky casts a new light on Kentucky's history, a past formerly pictured as almost exclusively male.

Helen Irvin is chairman of the Division of Humanities at Transylvania University.

The Kentucky Bicentennial Bookshelf is a celebration of two centuries of the history and culture of the Commonwealth.

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About the author (2009)

Helen Deiss Irvin is Chairman of the Division of Humanities at Transylvania University.