The Journal of Mollie Dorsey Sanford in Nebraska and Colorado Territories, 1857–1866

Second Edition

Mollie Dorsey Sanford
With an introduction and notes by Donald F. Danker
With a new introduction by Lillian Schlissel

199 pages


December 2003


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Mollie is a vivid, high-spirited, and intensely feminine account of city people homesteading in the raw, new land west of the Missouri. More particularly, it is the story of Mollie herself – just turned eighteen when the Dorseys left Indianapolis for Nebraska Territory – of her reaction to the transplantation and to her new life which included rattlesnakes, blizzards, Indians, and the hardships of pioneer life.
Mollie describes her nearly three-year engagement to Byron Sanford, during which time she worked as a seamstress, teacher, and cook. Following her wedding Mollie’s life took a new turn. Catching “Pike’s Peak Fever,” the Sanfords crossed the plains to Colorado to join others digging for gold. In mining camps and later, after the outbreak of the Civil War, in forts and army posts, Mollie’s strength and endurance were tried to the uttermost, but she reports her trials and tribulations with the same gaiety, courage, and common sense that she displayed in living through them. Lillian Schlissel’s introduction discusses the Sanfords’ courtship, marriage, and their steadfast loyalty to each other.

Author Bio

Donald F. Danker is a professor emeritus of history at Washburn University. Lillian Schlissel is a professor emerita of English and American studies at Brooklyn College–CUNY. She is the author of Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey and the coauthor of Far from Home: Families of the Westward Journey, which is available in a Bison Books edition.


“Mollie is the best and most readable western journal I know this side of Francis Parkman’s. . . . It is important as a document of social history, and vital and alive as the record of one honest, sharp-eyed, and appealing pioneer woman.”—Rocky Mountain News

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