Oregon’s Abigail Scott Duniway was the Northwest’s most influential advocate for women’s rights, whose two newspapers, the New Northwest and the Pacific Empire, rallied suffragists in the late nineteenth century.
Duniway originally published Edna and John serially in the New Northwest in 1876 and 1877. It is presented here in book form for the first time. The story of a married couple, Edna and John Smith, who move to southern Idaho in the 1860s during the gold mining frenzy, this atypical western underscores women’s struggles in an era when social and legal codes empowered only men. Abigail Scott Duniway was a luminary in the fight for women’s rights, and her serialized novels played a significant role in the enfranchisement of women in the West. Even today Edna and John serves to encourage readers to challenge injustice and sexual inequality, and to appreciate the courage and determination of the pioneer suffragists.
Edna and John is an enticing western tale that reads well for its adventure, its convincing re-creation of the way life really was in much of the West, and its humanistic appeal.
Editor Debra Shein reveals the “story behind the story” in her insightful addenda to the book, and provides an expanded panorama of the life and times of Abigail Scott Duniway.
Photographs / map / notes / bibliography / 244 pages (2000)