Cover image for Intimate frontiers : sex, gender, and culture in old California
Intimate frontiers : sex, gender, and culture in old California
Hurtado, Albert L., 1946-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxix, 173 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F864 .H897 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book reveals how powerful undercurrents of sex, gender, and culture helped shape the history of the American frontier from the 1760s to the 1850s. Looking at California under three flags -- those of Spain, Mexico, and the United States -- Hurtado resurrects daily life in the missions, at mining camps, on overland trails and sea journeys, and in San Francisco. In these settings Hurtado explores courtship, marriage, reproduction, and family life as a way to understand how men and women -- whether Native American, Anglo American, Hispanic, Chinese, or of mixed blood -- fit into or reshaped the roles and identities set by their race and gender.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hurtado explores the intertwined landscapes of sex, gender, and culture in old California, from the 18th century through the 1860s. The author does a magnificent job of weaving together the complex ethnic and religious tapestry of Spanish missionaries and soldiers, Native Americans, Mexicans, and Anglo-Americans that made California an interesting place to live for all concerned. Hurtado's well-researched and lucid text demonstrates that the various groups all had different concerns in settling the frontier: the Spanish wanted to maintain their "pure" bloodlines, which made marriage with Anglo-Americans preferable to Mexicans; the missionaries believed that many of the "sinful" sexual habits of the Indians had to be eradicated; and white women disliked being uprooted from their families to move to the California frontier. Hurtado makes particularly of effective use of literary sources to demonstrate the various cultural biases present in old California. This brief work includes a gendered examination of such familiar tales as the Donner Party, a thorough look at male and female roles in California, and new material, such as the tragic tale of Amelia Kuschinsky, a pregnant, teenage servant girl murdered by her master. All levels. J. M. Lewis University of Arkansas at Little Rock