The Golden State has continually beckoned to pioneers, from hopeful settlers to determined suffragists and enterprising Hollywood coterie. Under the lens of the authors in Women Trailblazers of California, remarkable female figures come into focus as the movers and shakers behind countless milestones in California’s history.
These are the stories of trailblazing women: the overlooked as well as the famed. The authors—Gloria Harris, a recent inductee of the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame and her fellow board member at the Women’s Museum of California, Hannah Cohen—chronicle the contributions of forty Californian women who took extraordinary risks.
One such trailblazer, Nancy Kelsey, was the first woman to travel overland to California in the mid-nineteenth century. Kelsey’s astonishing firsthand accounts of fighting alongside her husband set a precedent for other frontier women, and she expressed no regrets:
“I have enjoyed riches and suffered the pangs of poverty. I saw General Grant when he was little known. I baked bread for General Fremont and talked to Kit Carson. I have run from bear and killed all other kinds of game.”
Along the way, meet the “mother of the civil rights movement in the United States” Mary Ellen Pleasant; take a ride with “One-Eyed Charley,” a cross-dressing stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo at a time when women were forbidden to do so; and then watch “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, become Hollywood’s first millionaire.
Join Harris and Cohen as they celebrate women who made groundbreaking decisions to become catalysts for change, thereby leaving a truly indelible mark on California history. Women Trailblazers of California: Pioneers to the Present will retail for $19.99 and be available throughout the state and online at www.historypress.net.
Explore sneak peek images, interviews and chapter excerpts in the media kit below:
Read THP editor Aubrie Koenig’s original interview with Gloria G. Harris and Hannah S. Cohen here.