Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Home Lands

Home Lands: How Women Made the West

VIRGINIA SCHARFF
CAROLYN BRUCKEN
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 184
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnnpw
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Home Lands
    Book Description:

    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 Westupends 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 Landsvividly 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

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94608-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN THE AMERICA WEST IS LIKE THE HISTORY of air. You could certainly write history without it. You just can’t have history without it. We begin, therefore, by assuming what so many historians have labored long and hard to prove: that we need to know women’s history in order to come to any kind of understanding of the Western past.

    But historians of women have been burdened with the job of fitting their stories into a well-worked narrative of Western history that begins with the coming of Europeans and Euro-Americans to the West, a history that...

  4. 1 HOME ON EARTH: WOMEN AND LAND IN THE RIO ARRIBA
    (pp. 5-42)

    TO THE DIVERSE PEOPLES OF THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY, AN ARID AND perilous place stretching from what is now southern Colorado southward into New Mexico, the joining of fertile earth with water has meant nothing less than life. Over millennia, the northern valley, which the Spanish called Rio Arriba, has been a homeland to indigenous peoples—Tewa-, Tiwa-, Towa-, and Tano-speaking Puebloan peoples, Apaches, Navajos, Comanches, and Kiowas. In time, Spanish emigrants and the Mexican inheritors of cross-cultural intimacies would come to call the Rio Arriba home, soon to be joined by Americans of all kinds, and eventually by people...

  5. WEDDING CHEST
    (pp. 43-46)
    MARÍA E. MONTÓYA

    We admire this late-eighteenth-century hardwood wedding chest (figure 16, plate 2), a spectacular piece of furniture, for its craftsmanship. It is not only durable and functional but also ornamental, with beautiful decorations gracing the outside of the box. The chest’s origins are unknown; it came to the Autry collection as part of a bulk acquisition with other Spanish colonial pieces from Spain and its New World northern frontier.

    Although we do not know who owned the chest or what was kept inside it, we can speculate that it belonged to a woman. In all likelihood, she used it as a...

  6. 2 WOMEN IN MOTION ALONG THE FRONT RANGE
    (pp. 47-85)

    THE ALLEGORY OF THE AMERICAN WEST HAS BEEN TOLD AS A STORY OF men in motion: the Plains warrior on his horse, the engineer laying railroad tracks across the landscape, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady hurtling down the open road in a Ford, a Dodge, a Cadillac convertible. These icons embody power, speed, strength, and control in celebration of man’s mastery of the Western environment. But the Western story is also a tale of women’s movement. Wherever we look across the landscapes of the West, we find women on the move, traveling in every direction, for myriad reasons, with consequences...

  7. FRONT RANGE LANDSCAPES
    (pp. 86-90)
    ELLIOTT WEST

    In the story of Colorado’s Front Range, as in history generally, women’s voices are muted. And it is even rarer to hear from those living in the scruffier, on-the-edge neighborhoods like the one in Henrietta Bromwell’s paintingA Bit in Denver Bottoms(1890–1910; figure 31, plate 13).

    The Denver bottoms ran beside the Platte River and Cherry Creek, where the discovery of gold in the summer of 1858 sparked a rush of wealth seekers the next year. That in turn led to the dispossession of the area’s Indian peoples and the rise of towns and a cities, Denver chief among...

  8. 3 WATERSCAPES OF PUGET SOUND
    (pp. 91-129)

    HUMAN BEINGS ARE MADE, WE ARE TOLD, ALMOST ENTIRELY OF WATER. Whatever else holds our bodies together is liberally infused with and animated by water. We have more than an affinity for water; we are water, we need water, water is in us, and wherever the possibility exists, we are, at least some of the time, in water.

    Any place humans claim as home requires water. And wherever those homes are claimed, women follow, collect, carry, use, and manage water. Where water is scarce, they spend hours every day gathering and storing and conserving precious drops. Where water is plentiful,...

  9. JAPANESE AMERICAN WOMEN IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
    (pp. 130-134)
    GAIL DUBROW

    Tsuruyo Takami who penned her memories of immigration some fifty years later to assist journalist Kazuo lto in writing a history of the Issei, was dressed in her finest kimono and sandals when she departed Kobe for Seattle in July 1918. Decorated with light blue waves and a short-beaked plover, her kimono was tied with a sash of white and striped with black, blue, and orange. Yet another bride, whose garment has been preserved in the Autry Museum’s collection, wore a kimono decorated with a less abstract and more representational example of the waterscapes that frequently adorned early-twentieth-century Japanese women’s...

  10. PLATES
    (pp. None)
  11. POSTSCRIPT: HOW WILL WE MAKE THE WEST?
    (pp. 135-136)

    AS THIS BOOK GOES TO PRESS, THINGS DON’T LOOK SO GOOD FOR THE region, the nation, the planet. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis, mired in two wars in the Middle East, struggling to recover from a too-long period of neglect and incompetence and corruption among our leaders and no small measure of mindless, wasteful consumption among ordinary people. The planet itself is warming quickly, because those of us in rich countries have gobbled up fossil fuels as fast and as furiously as we could, heedless of the consequences to the environment, ourselves, and people and...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 137-150)
  13. List of Illustrations
    (pp. 151-154)
  14. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. 155-158)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 159-171)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 172-172)