Their Own Frontier


Their Own Frontier

Women Intellectuals Re-Visioning the American West

Edited and with an introduction by Shirley A. Leckie and Nancy J. Parezo

Women in the West Series

414 pages
18 illustrations


July 2008


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

The writings of the American West have long dealt with masculine ideals. Well into the twentieth century, what little attention was afforded to women typically reflected prescribed or stereotyped roles, and the work of women scholars received less attention than that of men. And yet the early twentieth century saw a host of pioneering scholars who would not be ignored, erased, or marginalized.
The ten women intellectuals showcased in this volume were pioneers in the writing of Indian-centered history, ethnology, and folklore that incorporated the insights, voices, and perspectives of American Indians. These authors not only produced significant works that are still useful to modern-day scholars; they also pioneered research methods and theoretical concepts that helped lay the foundation for the new scholarship on western history, American Indian studies, and ethnohistory. Noted scholars have provided individual biographies describing the struggles and contributions these foremothers made to the creation of late twentieth-century scholarship: Annie Heloise Abel, Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (Zitkala-Ša), Angie Debo, Ella Cara Deloria, Isabel T. Kelly, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert, Dorothea Cross Leighton, Alice Marriott, Mari Sandoz, and Ruth Underhill.

Author Bio

Shirley A. Leckie is a professor emerita of history at the University of Central Florida. She is the author of several books, including Angie Debo: Pioneer Historian and Elizabeth Bacon Custer and the Making of a Myth.
Nancy J. Parezo is a professor of American Indian studies and anthropology at the University of Arizona and the curator of ethnology at the Arizona State Museum. She is the editor of Hidden Scholars: Women Anthropologists and the Native American Southwest and the coauthor of Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (Nebraska 2007).


"This volume remains a welcome corrective to numerous biographical anthologies of western historians and anthropologists that generally overlook the significant contributions of these women intellectuals."—Michael J. Lansing, Journal of American History

"The essays in this volume are uniformly well researched and well written. . . . Young scholars will do well to study these women for their insights, scholarly innovations, and courage in placing their studies above their personal comforts."—Barbara Handy-Marchello, South Dakota History

"Whether they were historians or anthropologists, these women were activists, often offering criticism of legislative policies that eroded Native sovereignty, land rights, and religious freedom. That these women's stories are now made available in a concise collection of biographies is a fortunate addition to western and Indian history, anthropology, and feminist studies."—Andrea G. Radke-Moss, Western American Literature

Table of Contents

     Shirley A. Leckie (University of Central Florida) and Nancy J. Parezo (Arizona State University)
1. Annie Heloise Abel
     Suzanne Julin
2. Angie Debo: A Bridge between the Old and New Western and Indian History
     Shirley A. Leckie (University of Central Florida)
3. Mari Sandoz
     John R. Wunder (University of Nebraska, Lincoln)
4. A Life in the Field:Isabel T. Kelly
     Catherine S. Fowler (University of Nevada, Reno) and Robert Van Kemper (Southern Methodist University)
5. Marjorie Ferguson Lambert
     Shelly Tisdale
6. Alice Marriott: Recording the Lives of American Indian Women
     Patricia Loughlin (University of Central Oklahoma)
7. Telling the Story of Her People: Ella Cara Deloria's Decolonizing Methodology
     Maria Cotera (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
8. Gertrude Simmons Bonnin: Zitkala Sa
     Franci Washburn (University of Arizona)
9. Dorothea Cross Leighton: Physician, Psychiatrist, Anthropologist, and Public Health Activist
     Nancy J. Parezo (Arizona State University)
10. Ruth Murray Underhill and "The People of the Crimson Evening"
     Catherine Lavender (City University of New York) and Nancy J. Parezo (Arizona State University)

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