A Schoolmarm All My Life
Personal Narratives from Frontier Utah
Joyce Kindead, Editor
Paperback / 300 pages / 1-56085-083-3
There were typically two kinds of teachers in territorial Utah: single, cloistered women of the Presbyterian mission schools and Mormon polygamist wives. Neither had exceptional educational training. Yet as they developed their own fledgling intellectual skills, they proved equal to their frontier circumstances. The restrictive environment pushed them toward liberal thinking. The primitive conditions–cedar bark and slate sometimes being substituted for paper–not only taught them to improvise but added to their determination to make real schools out of their makeshift accommodations. The community’s ambivalence toward education heaped fuel on their passion, and their first-hand narratives demonstrate just how strong-willed, resourceful, and quietly subversive such pioneer educators could be.
Joyce Kinkead, associate dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Utah State University, is the author of Literary Utah: A Bibliographic Guide and co-author of Collaborative Writing: Essays in Process and the four-volume Houghton-Mifflin English. She has served on the Fulbright scholarships board and the board of reviewers for Oxford University Press.