Cover image for Encyclopedia of women in the American West
Encyclopedia of women in the American West
Bakken, Gordon Morris.
Publication Information:
Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 381 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1438.W45 E53 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



The Encyclopedia of Women of the American Wes t captures the lives of more than 150 women who made their mark from the mid-1800s to the present, contextualizing their experiences and contributions to American society.

Including many women profiled for the first time, the encyclopedia offers immense value and interest to practicing historians as well as students and the public.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A companion to Sage's Handbook of American Women's History0 (2000), this alphabetically arranged encyclopedia focuses on ways in which women had an impact on the history of the West from the mid-1800s to the present. Signed articles written by approximately 60 subject experts, most college or university affiliated, run from a partial column to better than 10 pages. Most of the entries are biographical, covering 150 women as varied as Barbara Boxer, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Willa Cather, Molly Ivins, Maxine Hongingston, and Sarah Winnemucca. The weighting is appropriate, with shorter entries for biographical profiles and longer ones for general areas of study, such as Conservation movement, 1870-1940; Education0 ; and Prostitution.0 Coverage is selective rather than comprehensive; for example, the only state that has an entry isansas, to give an idea of "how to structure a work on women in a place." Each article concludes with a bibliography. The number of sources cited depends on the depth of treatment of the topic. Frequent well-reproduced black-and-white photographs illustrate and extend the accessible articles. Despite the many contributors, the style is remarkably uniform and easy to read. In addition to an alphabetical list of entries, the "Reader's Guide," which precedes much of the front matter, lists articles in nine different categories, among them agriculture and ranching, arts and letters, education, law, and women's organizations. Cross-referencing is provided in the form of see also0 references in the accurate index, but otherwise cross-references are absent. The volume concludes with a chronology (1804-2003), a list of women's organizations, a helpful essay on researching women's history, a comprehensive bibliography, and the aforementioned index. Despite the price, this is a sound purchase for college and university libraries with women's studies or American West programs as well as for large public libraries. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Recent trends in historiography of the American West show increasing interest in the contribution of women of all races to this significant region's historic development. Bakken (history, California State Univ., Fullerton) and Farrington (history, Long Beach City Coll.), authors and coeditors of other works dealing with women and/or the western region, including The Gendered West, offer the first encyclopedia to focus on this neglected group. Written in the same style as a Handbook of American Women's History, this work contains over 100 entries written by nearly 40 subject specialists, with overviews of subjects from clubwomen and African American physicians to women in penitentiaries and prostitution and biographical entries on well- and lesser-known women. Entries range from several hundred to several thousand words and include bibliographies. End materials include a chronology of American women, a list of women's organizations, a useful essay on researching women's history in the digital age, as well as a general bibliography and index. There is a clear need for this encyclopedia, as few of the topics covered are duplicated in that or more general works on the West such as Encyclopedia of the American West, edited by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod. Recommended for academic and public libraries and all libraries with a special interest in the western region and women's studies.-Theresa McDevitt, Stapleton Lib., Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Editors Bakken (California State Univ., Fullerton) and Farrington (Fullerton College) define the West as west of the 100th meridian, where early settlers and modern environmentalists confront aridity. The encyclopedia covers historical and contemporary women, adding topical articles on such subjects as the club women's movement, education, prostitution, emigrants, homesteaders, rodeo, and literary women. Appendixes provide a chronology of the US and its women, a list of women's organizations, and sections on strategies for research, additional readings, resources, and references. Eclectic and selective entries result in uneven coverage; for example, lengthy articles on Kansas and Oklahoma are not balanced by articles on other western states. The book includes extensive biographies of contemporary California judges, but notably omits Pacific Northwest pioneer missionary Narcissa Whitman and the significant contribution of photographer Dorothea Lange in capturing westward movement during the Depression. The index shows no entries for women's role in environmentalism or water issues, despite introductory references to aridity in the West. Occasional misinformation and an emphasis on California further mar the quality and nature of entries. Literary figures are covered more thoroughly elsewhere. Only for comprehensive women's collections. ^BSumming Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. N. Knipe emerita, Colorado College

Table of Contents

List of Entries
Reader's Guide
List of Contributors
PrefaceDanielle Moon
A-Z Entries
Appendix: The Chronology of America and its Women
Appendix: Women's Organizations
Appendix: Researching Women's History