Sisters of Fortune: Being the true story of how three motherless sisters saved their home in New England and raised their younger brother while their ... fortune hunting in the California Gold Rush

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9780874516517: Sisters of Fortune: Being the true story of how three motherless sisters saved their home in New England and raised their younger brother while their ... fortune hunting in the California Gold Rush
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In 1850 , James Wilson, a widowed congressman from Keene, New Hampshire, left his three daughters and young son to seek his fortune in the California gold rush. During his twelve year absence, the daughters wrote their father almost 350 letters filled with accounts of daily life and lively observations on local and national events. The daughters -- Mary Elizabeth, 24, Annie, 18, and Charlotte, 16, when their father left -- were conventional, upper-middle-class young women struggling to keep up appearances in a society that accorded them few rights. These letters and the story they tell constitute a valuable social and cultural document and offer readers a vivid description of mid-19th century American life.

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From the Publisher:

6 x 9 trim. 11 illus. Fig. LC 93-19716

From Publishers Weekly:

In 1850, widower and U.S. Congressman James Wilson Jr. joined the California gold rush, leaving behind for 12 years in Keene, N.H., his four children: 24-year-old Lizzie, 18-year-old Annie, 16-year-old Charlotte and 13-year-old Jamie. Dependent on the inadequate funds James supplied, the women sent him detailed letters describing the family left behind. Heffernan and Stecker ( New Hampshire: Crosscurrents in Its Development ), who form these letters into a fairly continuous narrative, see the women as "obsessed . . . with their father and convinced . . . that only a patriarchal family could provide them with security and identity," apparently taking these often dissembling letters at their word. In fact, these texts can challenge parental authority, as when Annie discusses James's flair for persuasion: "I have only to hear you say black was white to be thoroughly convinced of the truth thereof." The editors allow only that there is "a certain ambiguity" in this barbed comment. Major events of the period pale in importance when compared to the household budget; when Charlotte comments on the seizure of an escaped slave, she apologizes for her interest in politics. The result is likely to appeal primarily to the serious student of the period.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Heffernan, Nancy Coffey, Stecker, Ann Pa
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