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Home Lands

How Women Made the West

Virginia Scharff (Author), Carolyn Brucken (Author)


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The storybook history of the American West is a male-dominated narrative of drifters, dreamers, hucksters, and heroes—a tale that relegates women, assuming they appear at all, to the distant background. Home Lands: How Women Made the West upends this view to remember the West as a place of homes and habitations brought into being by the women who lived there. Virginia Scharff and Carolyn Brucken consider history’s long span as they explore the ways in which women encountered and transformed three different archetypal Western landscapes: the Rio Arriba of northern New Mexico, the Front Range of Colorado, and the Puget Sound waterscape. This beautiful book, companion volume to the Autry National Center’s pathbreaking exhibit, is a brilliant aggregate of women’s history, the history of the American West, and studies in material culture. While linking each of these places’ peoples to one another over hundreds, even thousands, of years, Home Lands vividly reimagines the West as a setting in which home has been created out of differing notions of dwelling and family and differing concepts of property, community, and history.

Copub: Autry National Center of the American West

1. Home on Earth: Women and Land in the Rio Arriba
Wedding Chest, by María E. Montóya

2. Women in Motion along the Front Range
Front Range Landscapes, by Elliott West

3. Waterscapes of Puget Sound
Japanese American Women in the Pacific Northwest, by Gail Dubrow

Postscript: How Will We Make the West?

List of Illustrations
Virginia Scharff is Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, Women of the West Chair at the Autry National Center's Institute for the Study of the American West, and President of the Western History Association. Her many books include Taking the Wheel, Twenty Thousand Roads, and Seeing Nature through Gender. Carolyn Brucken is Curator of Western Women's History at the Autry National Center.
“This discussion of culture, community, familial linkage, and landscape puts women in the well-deserved forefront.”—Foreword
“Home Lands is [an] accessible and engaging look at the history of the West, an at Women’s roles in shaping its present.”—New Mexico Magazine
“Readers will see how central the history of western women is to the history of the West.”—Elaine Naylor Pacific Northwest Quarterly
“Beautifully produced book.”—Sue Armitage Western American Literature
“The broad overview, readability, and extensive images make this a useful book.”—Southern California Quarterly
"A sweeping, nicely written, briskly paced, accessible history of women in the West. Home Lands is guaranteed to draw readers into its narrative."—Ramón Gutiérrez, author of When Jesus Came the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846

"Change the vantage point, and a place changes. Things appear in one view that are hidden in another. This book's vantage point is home, and from it the West does look different."—Richard White, author of It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A New History of the American West

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