No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, 1849-1869

Pioneering writing from the women of the gold rush

In the wild, isolated Western frontier, where laws, traditions, and living conditions were like nowhere else in America, it was a bold act for a woman to write and to seek publication. Dame Shirley, Ina Coolbrith, and Mary Hallock Foote never achieved the fame and success of Mark Twain or Bret Harte, but they were celebrated writers in their time. They, too, wrote about California during the gold rush, but with a perspective all their own. Their writings, as well as the poetry, fiction, essays, memoirs, and diary entries of other women writers of their era, are collected in No Rooms of Their Own.

First published by Heyday in 1992 and now reissued under our California Legacy series, No Rooms of Their Own has become a standard reference and a starting point for many studies. More importantly, No Rooms of Their Own remains one of the few anthologies in which the scope and range of authentic literary voices of the women of the gold rush era can be heard. This collection—now repackaged for a contemporary audience—pays homage to the talent and experiences of these women who built the West.

Reviews

“Full of interesting and entertaining work that has been undeservedly ignored over the years.”

—Bloomsbury Review

 

“The journal entries, stories and poems by fifteen mid-19th-century California women offer fresh and immediate perspectives on their lives and times.”

—Publishers Weekly

About the Editor

Ida Rae EgliRaised in Potter Valley, Mendocino County, Ida Rae Egli is a Californian whose great-grandparents immigrated during the gold rush period. She graduated from Sonoma State University and later earned her master's degree in American literature from San Francisco State University. Now relocated to coastal California, she continues to teach creative writing.