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Nothing Daunted

The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West
Wickenden, Dorothy (Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Nothing Daunted
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Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood attended grade school and Smith College together, spent nine months on a grand tour of Europe in 1910, and then, bored with society luncheons and chaperoned balls and not yet ready for marriage, they went off to teach the children of homesteaders in a remote schoolhouse on the Western Slope of Colorado. They traveled on the new railroad over the Continental Divide and by wagon to Elkhead, a tiny settlement far from the nearest town. Their students came to school from miles away in tattered clothes and shoes tied together with string. Dorothy Woodruff was the grandmother of New Yorker executive editor Dorothy Wickenden. Nearly one hundred years later, Wickenden found the buoyant, detailed, colorful letters the two women wrote to their families. Through them, she has chronicled their trials in the classroom, the cowboys and pioneering women they met, and the violent kidnapping of a close friend. Central to their narrative is Ferry Carpenter, the witty, idealistic, and occasionally outrageous young lawyer and cattle rancher who hired them, in part because he thought they would make attractive and cultivated brides. None of them imagined the transforming effect the year would have-on the children, the families, and the teachers. Wickenden set out on her own journey to discover what two intrepid Eastern women found when they went West, and what America was like at that uncertain moment, with the country poised for the First World War, but going through its own period of self-discovery. Drawing upon the letters, interviews with descendants, research about these vanished communities, and trips to the region, Wickenden creates a compelling, original saga about the two intrepid young women and the "settling up" of the West.
Authors: Wickenden, Dorothy
Title: Nothing daunted
the unexpected education of two society girls in the West
Publisher: New York, NY : Scribner, 2011.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.
Characteristics: xiv, 286 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.
Contents: Beginnings.
Overland journey
The girls from Auburn
"A funny, scraggly place"
"Refined, intelligent gentlewomen"
Old World and New.
Unfenced
The grand tour
Ferry's scheme
Departure
Hell Hill
Working Girls.
Turnips and tears
The mad ladies of Strawberry Park
Debut
Reckonings.
The cream of Routt County
"Unarmed and defenseless"
"The dark days are very few"
Three-wire winter
Commencement.
Local Note: 1 6 27 53 67 76 80 97 109 112 118 133 148 149 151 152 153 167 172 173 176 193 210 211 216 222 231 243 250 264 268 272 280
ISBN: 1439176582
9781439176580
9781439176597
Statement of Responsibility: Dorothy Wickenden
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subject Headings: Education Colorado History 20th century. Teachers Colorado Biography. Underwood, Rosamond. Woodruff, Dorothy.
Topical Term: Education
Teachers
LCCN: 2011008949
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Jun 05, 2013
  • MElaineMilanMerry rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Not the most eventful of books, but that's not really the point. Letters aren't going to make for a really thrilling plot; it's about the detail of daily life. There could have been a little more focus, but true stories recreated through letters are usually going to have a little problems with that. I wish the library had a greater selection of pioneer-type life stories, so I'm glad this was available.

Oct 11, 2012
  • Caroline1731 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An engrossing book that recreates the lives of two society women from NY who move to Colorado at the turn of the century to teach in a rural school house. It's a true story of their lives recreated through their letters home at that time. I don't typically read non-fiction but the sense of adventure and good humor of the "heroines" carried me through. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who liked to read Laura Ingalls Wilder growing up and who loves stories of strong, capable women.

May 12, 2012
  • unJoCo rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Found it be a worthwhile read--I am one of those readers that will skip around with non-fiction. I would read chapters I found to be interesting.

Oct 18, 2011
  • diamtupa rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

After 60 pp I decided to stop wasting my time waiting for something to really happen. It was too unfocused and jarbled. Lost interest.

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