TELLING WOMEN’S STORIES
Many female writers today are interested in giving women their place in history. Some do this by writing family histories for their children and grandchildren. Such works may include letters and recipes from great aunts and grandmothers, the most likely surviving documents in a woman’s own handwriting. Capturing the stories of family life in past generations is a wonderful legacy.
Women like author Jane Kirkpatrick offer their ancestor’s stories to a wider audience through books. In A Flickering Light, Jane weaves a compelling coming of age story based on the life and times of her grandmother, Jessie Ann Gaebele, a turn of the century Midwestern photographer. This work was named to Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009. The sequel, An Absence So Great, will be released March 16, 2010.
Harriet Rochlin’s research into her Jewish roots in the Spanish, Mexican and American West became the illustrated social history Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West. Then she turned to fiction, exploring the lives of these pioneers through the eyes of a character called Frieda Levie in her Desert Dwellers Trilogy.
In Harvey Girl, Sheila Wood Foard captures the unique world of adventuous young women who travelled far from home in the late 1800s and early 1900s to serve meals to passengers in the famous Harvey Houses along the routes of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
The courageous female pilots of the World War II era Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) are the focus of Sarah Byrn Rickman’s work. Her biography Nancy Batson Crews: Alabama’s First Lady of Flight tells the story of an original member of the WAFS. These women “flew top-priority P-38, P-47, and P-51 high-performance aircraft from factory to staging areas and to and from maintenance and training sites” to support the war effort.
For more authors publishing women’s stories, visit this list of writers in the organization Women Writing the West.