"Off Alone on My Tramps": Correspondence Networks of Women Botanists in the U.S. Frontier West

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Abstract Summary
This paper will explore the correspondence of women botanical collectors in the U.S. Frontier West and will discuss the hidden histories of women’s scientific work taking place in the nation’s mining, mountain, and border outposts. Letters exchanged both between women in the West, and between these women and their eastern, generally male correspondents, demonstrates the range of motivations, hazards, rewards, and sacrifices that prompted women such as Alice Eastwood (1859-1953), Sarah Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923), Mary Katharine Brandegee (1844-1920), Rebecca Merritt Austin (1832-1919), and Emily O. Pelton (c.1858-1945) to pursue plants across remote landscapes. This paper will investigate the degrees of candor with which these women talked both to each other and to those outside their close circles about issues we would now classify as sexual harassment, pay equity, and professional advancement.
Abstract ID :
Submission Type
Organized Session
Abstract Topic
Thematic Approaches to the Study of Science
Chronological Classification :
19th century
Self-Designated Keywords :
Botanical History, Gender, Women, Correspondence, Material Culture, Sexual Harassment, Pay Equality, Professionalization, U.S. Frontier West