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    North America: Western

Colorado,  Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota,  Utah

For the Pacific States, Idaho, Montana & Alaska see the Far West

THE WEST (general topics not limited to one place)

900 miles from nowhere : voices from the homestead frontier / Steven R. Kinsella

978 KINSELL 2006

The heartfelt chronicle of the daily lives and personal struggles of Great Plains homesteaders, told in their own voices through many never-before-published letters, diaries, and photographs. Believing absolutely that they could control their own destiny, they bet everything they owned, even in the face of insurmountable obstacles. This is the remarkable and ever-inspiring story of life on the grasslands that stretch from Canada to Mexico. 

The Black west: a documentary and pictorial history of the African American role in the westward expansion of the United States / William Loren Katz

978.0049 KATZ 1996

The American West: no period in our history has defined and shaped us more as a nation. Unique to the U.S., the Old West exerts a power on the American imagination that can still be seen in almost every aspect of our culture. Sadly, as is the case with most other periods, historic acknowledgment of the African American contribution to the West is either totally nonexistent or nowhere near complete. In "The Black West," historian William Loren Katz corrects the record in words and pictures, showing that, from the journeys of Lewis and Clark to the charge at San Juan Hill, African American men and women exerted an influence beyond their numbers in the discovery and definition of the American West.

Cowboy culture : a saga of five centuries / David. Dary.

978 D228c

David Dary's award winning  saga of cowboy life stretches across five hundred years using the words of the men who lived this life from the time Columbus brought cattle to Hispaniola, to the feudal haciendas of the Spanish grandees, to the vast ranches of the Texas cattle barons. Through it all roams the colorful, hellbent-for-leather loner who passed from reality into the heroic mythology of the Old West.

Far from home : families of the westward journey Lillian. Schlissel

978 SCHLISS 1989

This book, in essence, offers three tales of immense suffering - yet, also, of obvious endurance. Families left home (Pennsylvania and Illinois, Virginia, czarist Russia) in order to find the proverbial new life, only to experience hunger, sickness, the loss of loved ones, and day in, day out, a seemingly endless expanse of backbreaking toil, with no sign that even a modest good fortune was forthcoming. These families went far from home in order to further their own chances in a life that seemed all too tenaciously unyielding, and so doing, particular men and women gave us, today, a homeland that is wonderfully far-flung. These histories are not heroic; on the contrary, they tend to flatten out much of what we have learned about pioneering. The frontier family, remembered with nostalgia as a model of ordered simplicity, was neither simple nor orderly, but full of changes and abrupt transitions.

Frontier teachers : stories of heroic women of the old West / Chris Enss.

975.739 COLEMAN 2014

Frontier Teachers tells the stories of a dozen courageous, intrepid women who faced down rooms full of children on the open prairies and in the mining towns of the Old West to bring them educational opportunities. 

Gold diggers & silver miners : prostitution and social life on the Comstock Lode / Marion S. Goldman.

979.356 GOLDMAN 1986

In 1859 high grade bullion was discovered on the Comstock Lode. The fortune seekers were many: miners and madams, confidence men and dance hall girls. The fast life was stratified as any proper community, ranging from expensively kept women to prostitutes living in cribs. Marion S. Goldman provides a detailed account using phots, documents, written accounts of the day and the voices of the women themselves.

Home on the range : a culinary history of the American West / Cathy Luchetti.

978 LUCHETT 1993

This colorful account of cooking on the frontier from 1700 to 1915 describes the foods, preparation techniques, and recipes of pioneers by providing excerpts from their diaries, journals, and letters. Every kind of pioneer seems included: seafarers, trappers, military personnel, cowboys, homesteaders, clerics, various ethnic groups, etc. By profiling selected individuals in each category and weaving together their stories, recipes, and photographs (unseen), the author illustrates how the pioneering process democratized cooking and contributed to the culinary pluralism of the Old West. Documented throughout with primary sources, this well-researched history is amusing as well as educational and should be purchased by both academic and public libraries. (description from Library Journal)

The mountain men / George Laycock.

978.02 LAYCOCK 2006

To know how the West was really won, start with the exploits of these unsung mountain men who, like the legendary Jeremiah Johnson, were real buckskin survivalists. Preceded only by Lewis and Clark, beaver fur trappers roamed the river valleys and mountain ranges of the West, living on fish and game, fighting or trading with the Native Americans, and forever heading toward the untamed wilderness.

In this story of rough, heroic men and their worlds, Laycock weaves historical facts and practical instruction with profiles of individual trappers, including harrowing escapes, feats of supreme courage and endurance, and sometimes violent encounters with grizzly bears and Native Americans.

Newspapering in the Old West; a pictorial history of journalism and printing on the frontier / Robert F. Karolevitz.

978 KAROLEV 1965

A pictorial history of journalism and printing on the Frontier. Bonanza Books, New York, publisher, a Division of Crown Publishers, Inc. Printed in the USA.Total 191 pages. The spine is tight and straight. The pages are clean and without markings.Beautiful yellow cloth front and back boards, black lettering on the spine. The dust jacket shows minor shelf and edge wear. Contains many black and white illustrations and "vintage photos and breezy perceptive writing, author Karolevitz offers the story of the editors and printers in 17 states who wielded quills, type sticks and six guns with equal deftness

Place to grow: women in the American West / Glenda Riley

978 RILEY 1992

Did the West offer women a place to grow, providing opportunities for more equitable social relationships, greater political rights, and economic independence? The answer is found in this unique blend of more than 90 primary documents, in which the women's own words tell the story, combined with 11 selected essays by noted historian Glenda Riley. A number of themes pervade the articles and documents presented here. The selections discuss stereotypes of western women, the ethnic and racial backgrounds of western women, women's migration experiences, female migrants' relations with Native Americans, and women's contributions inside and outside the home as the West was settled.



Exodusters : Black migration to Kansas after Reconstruction / Nell Irvin Painter

978.1031 PAINTER 1977

"In 1879, fourteen years after the Emancipation Proclamation, thousands of blacks fled the South. They were headed for the homesteading lands of Kansas, the 'garden spot of the earth' and the 'quintessential Free State, the land of John Brown' ... Painter examines their exodus in fascinating detail. In the process, she offers a compelling portrait of the post-Reconstruction South and the desperate efforts by blacks and whites in that chaotic period to 'solve the race problem' once and for all."

Sod and stubble; the story of a Kansas homestead / John Ise

978.1 ISE 1967

 "A few years ago, as I listened one night to my mother telling incidents of her life pioneering in the semi-arid region of Western Kansas, it occurred to me that the picture of that early time was worth drawing and preserving for the future, and that, if this were ever to be done, it must be done soon, before all of the old settlers were gone. This book is the result—an effort to picture that life truly and realistically. It is the story of an energetic and capable girl, the child of German immigrant parents, who at the age of seventeen married a young German farmer, and moved to a homestead on the wind-swept plains of Kansas, where she reared eleven of her twelve children, and remembering regretfully her own half-day in school, sent nine of them through college. It is a story of grim and tenacious devotion in the face of hardships and disappointments, devotion that never flagged until the long, hard task of near a lifetime was done." —John Ise (from the preface) 

Went to Kansas /Miriam Davis Colt

978.1 COLT 1966

This straightforward and heartbreaking account is based on the personal diaries of Miriam Colt, written as she and her family traveled from New York to Kansas in 1856 to join the Vegetarian Society settlement in a prairie utopia. The Colts began their journey happy and hopeful, but upon their arrival discovered ""all was not right."" No mills or homes were built, fellow settlers were leaving in droves, and the myriad challenges included Indian attacks and thievery, foul weather, and devastating illness. On the Colts' disappointed journey out of the Territory, Miriam's husband and four-year-old son both succumbed to fever, leaving Miriam and her small daughter to carry on alone. Through it all, Mrs. Colt never failed to appreciate the kindness of neighbors and strangers and the natural beauty of the day and countryside around her.


Land in her own name : women as homesteaders in North Dakota / H. Elaine. Lindgren

978.403 LINDGRE 1996

Land is often known by the names of past owners. "Emma’s Land," "Gina’s quarter," and "the Ingeborg Land" are reminders of the many women who homesteaded across North Dakota in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centures. Land in Her Own Name records these homesteaders’ experiences as revealed in interviews with surviving homesteaders and their families and friends, land records, letters, and diaries.These women’s fascinating accounts tell of locating a claim, erecting a shelter, and living on the prairie. Their ethnic backgrounds include Yankee, Scandinavian, German, and German-Russian, as well as African-American, Jewish, and Lebanese. Some were barely twenty-one, while others had reached their sixties. A few lived on their land for life and "never borrowed a cent against it"; others sold or rented the land to start a small business or two provide money for education.For this paperback edition, Elizabeth Jameson’s new foreword situates the homesteading experience for women within the larger context of western history. 

Ranch life and the hunting trail / Theodore Roosevelt

978.029263 ROOSEVE 1966

If I had not spent my year in North Dakota, I would never have become President of the United States," declared Theodore Roosevelt. The future statesman took his first steps toward the highest office in the land in the Dakota Badlands of the 1880s, where he began his transformation from aristocrat to democrat. Roosevelt left his home in the East as Theodore, but he returned as "Teddy," a rugged outdoorsman and soon-to-be hero of the Rough Riders.Recounted with infectious enthusiasm, Roosevelt's tales range from ranching on the open plains to hunting in the mountains. His reminiscences conjure up the vanished world of the frontier, with thrilling accounts of chasing bighorn sheep and horse thieves, encountering Indians, branding cattle, and bronco busting. Roosevelt's recollections helped elevate the cowboy's image from that of an ordinary farm laborer into a figure of nobility and courage. The works of Frederic Remington, another great mythmaker of the Old West, illustrate these memoirs. Sixty-five black-and-white images by this renowned American artist complement Roosevelt's stories of freedom and self-reliance.


Handcarts to Zion, the story of a unique western migration, 1856-1860, with contemporary journals, accounts, reports; and rosters of members of the ten handcart companies/ Le Roy Reuben Hafen.

979.202 HAFEN 1960

It is unparalleled in history, the procession of Latter-Day Saints pushing handcarts from Iowa City and Florence (Omaha) to their promised Zion by the Great Salt Lake. Many of the three thousand hardy souls who trudged across thirteen hundred miles of prairie, desert, and mountain from 1856 to 1860 were European converts to the Mormon faith. Without funds for wagons and oxen, they carried their possessions in two-wheeled carts powered and aided by their own muscle and blood. Some of the weary travelers would finally be welcomed by their brethren in Salt Lake City; others would go to wayside graves or get caught in early winter storms in the Rockies and hope to be rescued by the parties sent out by Brigham Young. 

Mormon country. Wallace Earle Stegner

979.2 STEGNER 1981

Where others saw only sage, a salt lake, and a great desert, the Mormons saw their “lovely Deseret,” a land of lilacs, honeycombs, poplars, and fruit trees. Unwelcome in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, they migrated to the dry lands between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada to establish Mormon country, a wasteland made green. Like the land the Mormons settled, their habits stood in stark contrast to the frenzied recklessness of the American West. Opposed to the often prodigal individualism of the West, Mormons lived in closely knit – some say ironclad – communities. The story of Mormon country is one of self-sacrifice and labor spent in the search for an ideal in the most forbidding territory of the American West. 

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