Jessie Benton Fremont: A Biography

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9780806121598: Jessie Benton Fremont: A Biography

Jessie Benton Fremont was clever, passionate, and ambitious - dangerous qualities for a woman in nineteenth-century America. Born in 1824, the favorite child of powerful Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, she was a rebellious adolescent who chafed at the restraints of Victorian girlhood. At seventeen, she defied her family and horrified Washington society when she eloped with explorer John Charles Fremont, a restless, handsome man who was born illegitimate. What followed was a life of extremes; of glittering successes and bitter failures, as Jessie channeled her energy and drive into her husband's career, using her political contacts and writing talent on his behalf.

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From Library Journal:

Fremont (1824-1902) was the daughter of Democratic politician Thomas Hart Benton and the wife of John Charles Fremont, explorer of California, first Republican party presidential candidate, and Union general. Her fascinating life is worthy of a full biography in part because of her own exploits, but more because her story shows the corrosive effect on women of dividing men and women into separate spheres. She married John Fremont at 17, and for the next 60 years devoted her talents to promoting his career and reputation: as his ghostwriter, press agent, chief of staff, as well as mother to their five children. Unfortunately, John was not the man of destiny she imagined, but instead morose, vainglorious, unfaithful. Her devotion eventually broke her family and her health. Impressively researched, Herr's splendid study is highly recommended for most academic and public libraries. James W. Oberly, History Dept., Univ. of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Pamela Herr
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