Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1


Covered Wagon Women, Volume 1

Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849

Compiled and edited by Kenneth L. Holmes

280 pages
Illus., map


September 1995


$18.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

August 2020


$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The women who traveled west in covered wagons during the 1840s speak through these letters and diaries. Here are the voices of Tamsen Donner and young Virginia Reed, members of the ill-fated Donner party; Patty Sessions, the Mormon midwife who delivered five babies on the trail between Omaha and Salt Lake City; Rachel Fisher, who buried both her husband and her little girl before reaching Oregon. Still others make themselves heard, starting out from different places and recording details along the way, from the mundane to the soul-shattering and spirit-lifting.

Author Bio

Kenneth L. Holmes was a professor of history at Western Oregon State College. He edited and compiled Covered Wagon Women, drawing on archives and private sources.
Anne M. Butler, a professor of history at Utah State University–Logan, is the author of Daughters of Joy, Sisters of Misery: Prostitutes in the American West.


“The diaries and letters . . . throb with excitement, pain, and mind-boggling determination.”—Kliatt

“An outstanding collection of primary sources written by women moving west.”—Wagon Tracks

“Kenneth L. Holmes made the very wise editorial decision not to update, revise, or parenthetically correct the quirky and often fascinating prose of these nineteenth-century women. . . . The writing is rich with the sounds of common speech and jargon . . . and it should be a gold mine for students of everyday life.”—John Mack Faragher, Western Historical Quarterly

Covered Wagon Women is to be valued. . . . First, it brings together in a single edition a major collection of the diaries of overland women. . . . Second, this is probably the most perfectly documented edition a researcher will find.”—Lillian Schlissel, Pacific Historical Review

Also of Interest