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  • Introduction

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Missouri Review is pleased to share seven of our previously published History as Literature and Found Text features by American women.

  • • “The Diary of Lydia Rudd” takes us to the Oregon Trail in 1850 and offers one of the clearest depictions of that dangerous passage. Rudd’s diary chronicles her westward journey and the accounts she sent back to her family, who hoped to make a similar trip. It captures the sometimes poignant, sometimes monotonous detail of life in a momentous period of American history.

  • • Fannie Borden’s short oral history “Between the Red Rivers: Life on Boggy Creek 1878-1885” depicts her experience as a female “Sooner” in Indian Territory and the fascinating vicissitudes of frontier life.

  • • “The Spanish American War Journal of Amy Wingreen” portrays Wingreen’s experiences as one of the first group of women to be officially recruited by the army for service in a war zone. The journal offers insights into the motives and behaviors of a professional and brave woman who experienced war firsthand.

  • • “The Diary of Jean L. Clemens” is a firsthand look at what it was like for Mark Twain’s daughter after she returned from Europe to the United States in 1900. • The letters between Modernist author and painter Djuna Barnes and her good friend, poet, and society writer Emily Holmes Coleman, capture the whirlwind intensity of being an expatriate artist in Paris in the 1920s. This literary conversation in letters is filled with references to the usual suspects: Isadora Duncan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Anderson, Charlie Chaplin, and Sylvia Beach.

  • • In “The Gazette Girls of Grundy County,” Gwen and Ardis Hamilton document their experiences owning and operating a run-down country newspaper during the Great Depression. They find themselves in Spickard, a northwestern Missouri town of six hundred. What started as a lark became a real adventure in so-called country journalism.

  • • “Soldier Girl: The Civil War Memories of Elizabeth Bacon Custer,” details Custer’s experiences as a young bride in the last year of the Civil War. After the death of her husband, General George Armstrong Custer, she confronted her former fears of being on her own and became a successful author and speaker in her efforts to preserve her husband’s legacy.

Each of these features from our archives, whether set overseas or in the United States, reveals the strength, wisdom, and fortitude that women have displayed over the historical record as they faced the challenges that came their way.



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