Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Craig C. Challender, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

William L. Frank, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Massie C. Stinson, Ph.D.


The works of twenty women whom participated in the westward expansion at some time between 1820 and 1920 are represented. The women have participated by immigration, emigration, homesteading, or simply living a trans-Mississippi community during the aforementioned time period. The work as a whole provides a variety of examples of the lifestyle and challenges of the period, which may highlight the uniqueness of each woman, while at the same time showing some common experience. Diaries have been selected to represent as many states as possible, in as many time periods as possible within the one hundred year time span, in an attempt to provide a representative bibliography. Overall, the diaries demonstrate the immediate value of writing, as well as its long term significance. Writing was important to diarists for various reasons, such as companionship and personal enjoyment. But without the diaries our understanding of history would be drastically diminished. If a goal of examining and analyzing literature is to better understand human nature, its complexities, strengths, and weaknesses, then pioneer women diaries are a rich source.



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