Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West

Dorothy Wickenden. Scribner, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-7658-0
On July 24, 1916, the Syracuse Daily Journal printed the headline: "Society Girls Go to Wilds of Colorado." The two young women were Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood, recent graduates of Smith College who, in order to defy their family's expectation of marriage, sought work in the small town of Hayden, Colo. Woodruff was the grandmother of New Yorker executive editor Wickenden, who herself becomes a central character in an informative and engaging narrative. Using letters from her grandmother, newspaper articles, and interviews with descendants, Wickenden retells how Woodruff and Underwood traveled to the newly settled state of Colorado to teach at a ramshackle grade school. The book offers a wide cross-section of life in the American West, but the core of the story is the girls' slow adaptation to a society very different from the one in which they were raised, and their evolution from naïve but idealistic and open-minded society girls to strong-willed and pragmatic women who later married and raised families in the midst of the Great Depression. Wickenden brings to life two women who otherwise might have been lost to history and who took part in creating the modern-day West. Photos. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-7660-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2197-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-4748-9
Paperback - 286 pages
Hardcover - 511 pages - 978-1-4104-5635-9
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