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Women of the West

"Go West, young man," was the rally cry of newspaperman, Horace Greeley. Thousands of men from the eastern states of America, from Europe and beyond heeded that call to risk everything on the chance of finding adventure, good land, and wealth by moving to the American prairies and to California and the Northwest.


However, it was not just men who moved West – countless women were at their side or traveled westward on their own to build a new life and become the heroic and fascinating Women of the West.

Some women could ride horses and shoot guns as good as any man including sharpshooter Annie Oakley or the fearless Martha Jane Canary, better known as "Calamity Jane".

Many young woman who were single and of "good character, attractive, and intelligent" 

signed on to become "Harvey Girls" for just $18.50 a month with the Fred Harvey Company. These adventurous young women would work long, hard hours waiting on tables in the hotels served by the Santa Fe Railroad throughout the Southwest.

Breaking New Ground

on the Western Frontier

Still other women were hard-working entrepreneurs including Margaret Brown who operated the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado from 1892. Margaret later become known as the "Unsinkable Molly Brown" when she was among the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Sharing the Saga

of Life in the West

Of course, lovers of literature count authors like Willa Cather who penned My Antonia and 

O Pioneers; Laura Ingalls Wilder author of the Little 

House on the Prairie series; or Helen Hunt Jackson who penned the timeless Ramona, as unequalled storytellers. These women wrote from the heart to share their unique experiences on the plains and the western frontiers. Each wove captivating stories of the hardships and courage of early pioneer families who made a new life for themselves in the West.

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Martha Jane Canary
"Calamity Jane"
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"Harvey Girls"
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Margaret Brown
"Unsinkable Molly Brown"
Laura Ingalls Wilder
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Willa Cather
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Annie Oakley
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Shirley Temple
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Audrey Marie Stein
Director Emeritus
Grace Dee May Museum
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