“Army Officers’ Wives on the Great Plains, 1865–1900”

“Army Officers’ Wives on the Great Plains, 1865–1900” (University of Nebraska Lincoln)

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Genealogists often decry the absence of our foremothers from so many of the records we use regularly. Women most often appear only in connection with their fathers or their husbands. This online exhibit presented by the University of Nebraska Lincoln tells the story of a subset of midwestern women pioneers, using their own words as written in diaries, journals, and letters.

The exhibit is primarily comprised of a narrative, with sections on “Daily Life” (subsections include “Daily life in a Great Plains Military Post” and “Procuring Food and Clothing,”), “Family Life” (“The Army Marriage” and “Raising Children on the Great Plains”), “Rank and Class,” and “Indians.” Using quotations from the writings of Army wives living in the frontier, each essay provides much needed context to the lives of others not quoted.

Another very important part of the collection is the biographical section entitled “The Women.” Each of the 16 wives quoted throughout the exhibit’s essays has her own brief biographical entry. The entries themselves have limited usefulness due to a complete lack of source citations for the details, but the real value comes in identifying published writings for each woman. Many of these works were published by university presses during the mid-1970s explosion of women’s history. However, some of them—such as Reminiscences of a Soldier’s Wife by Ellen McGowan Biddle (1907) and Cavalry Life in Tent and Field by Frances Anne Mullen Boyd (1894)—were published much earlier, and are now available at no cost online through Internet Archive and/or Google Books.

Explore the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s “Army Officers’ Wives on the Great Plains, 1865–1900” at http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/army_officers_wives/.

This resource is one of over 9000 listed in version 3.0 of Online State Resources for Genealogy. To purchase the ebook, visit http://haitfamilyresearch.com/onlineStates.htm.