Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Diaries, letters, and journals have come to be accepted as valid literary forms, offering personal insights into aii event or a v:ay of life which the more public accounts afforded by the history books have treated lightly or not at all, The settling of Dakota Territory about one hundred years ago provides an opportunity to present the personal perspectives of a number of pioneers as contained in their diaries, letters, and reminiscences. In particular, the women who iztioipated actively and fully in this venture have not been given due recognition for their contributions to the settlement of the plains, Historical accounts have had a tendency to ignore their role, significant though it was, and fiction has tended to trivialize their part through a heavy, application of sentimentality.

An examination of pioneer women’s diaries, letters, and recollections quickly dispels any notions that their responsibilities were of lesser import than their mala counterparts' . Women toiled alongside their menfolk in the homesteading effort and shared equally in the sorrows and the joys. The writings of these women supply a voice that up until quite recently has seldom been heard. They offer a point of view7 about a i articular period (primarily 1880 to 1910) and a particular place (that part of Dakota Territory which eventually became the State of North Dakota) .

Inferences have been made about the accounts of pioneer living as experienced and expressed by these women, and an attempt has been made to convey a sense of the past: che dailiness of their lives, their insights, their thoughts and feelings. The writings present us with a seldom told story by the women who lived it.