Libby

Libby Beaman, Author, Libby Beaman, Illustrator, Betty John, With Mariner Books $12.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-395-49325-0
Shortly after her marriage in 1874, the well-connected Beaman discreetly induced President Hayes to offer her husband, John, employment--as a special government agent in the Alaskan Pribilof Islands, located close to the Arctic Circle. Heroically independent and, like her husband, a trained cartographer, Beaman was the first non-native American woman to set foot in this pitiless land. Her writings provide a gritty but romantic, feminist chronicle of her year-long sojourn. She describes both daily life--her relations with the Aleuts, teaching English to native children, keeping house, observing such natural phenomena as seals mating--and her own interior existence (``I do not know how to weep in words,'' she begins her journal). The Beamans survive a brutal seven-week winter storm; confined to one room and on the verge of starvation, they rekindle their passion for each other. John, their granddaughter, has neatly patched the fragments of Libby's diaries and letters with her own recollections of Libby's stories and with historical research. Illustrations not seen by PW . (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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