Cover image for Land in her own name : women as homesteaders in North Dakota
Land in her own name : women as homesteaders in North Dakota
Lindgren, H. Elaine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.
Physical Description:
xvi, 300 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: Fargo : North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, c1991.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F636 .L56 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Land is often known by the names of past owners. "Emma's Land," "Gina's quarter," and "the Ingeborg Land" are reminders of the many women who homesteaded across North Dakota in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Land in Her Own Name records these homesteaders' experiences as revealed in interviews with surviving homesteaders and their families and friends, land records, letters, and diaries.

These women's fascinating accounts tell of locating a claim, erecting a shelter, and living on the prairie. Their ethnic backgrounds include Yankee, Scandinavian, German, and German-Russian, as well as African American, Jewish, and Lebanese. Some were barely twenty-one, while others had reached their sixties. A few lived on their land for life and "never borrowed a cent against it"; others sold or rented the land to start a small business or to provide money for education.

For this paperback edition, Elizabeth Jameson's foreword situates the homesteading experience for women within the larger context of western history.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Lindgren has gathered documents on more than 300 women to tell the remarkable story of those who claimed land on the Great Plains in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Modifications of the 1862 Homestead Act and relaxed government requirements encouraged nontraditional settlers, including single women, to claim land. This changed policy coincided with increased immigration from Scandinavia, Southern and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The homesteaders represented a group of adventurous women from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Many of the women in Lindgren's study were immigrants or daughters of immigrants; a few were African American. Most combined their homesteading with paying jobs, "working out" as teachers, nurses, domestics, and seamstresses to support their land. Lindgren has provided a marvelously detailed appendix with information on the women's ethnicity, their age at the time of the initial land transaction, their marital status, and the location of their claim. As an added bonus, the book is chock-full of illustrations photographs of the homesteaders and their "shacks." For students of women's history and Western history, and for general readers as well.-J. Raftery, California State University, Chico