The Other Half

Post written and copyright by Doris McCraw







This past weekend I spent time with some amazing women who write about the experience of women in the West. The organization was celebrating its twentieth conference.  It began when women authors wished to be acknowledged as writers of western fiction. The group grew and we are the recipients of their vision.

Some have called me a feminist. While not offended, I consider myself a historian who wants to have a more complete picture of what really took place as we grew as a nation. The energy I received from being around others who also tell the story, both as fiction and non-fiction spurs me forward in that quest.

Mule drawn supply wagon

This in no way is discounting what history has told us about Kit Carson, Red Cloud, Custer and any of the other figures in our history. This is about telling the other half of the stories, Helen (Hunt) Jackson, Isabella Bird, Nellie Cashman  and other women who also were part of the westward movement.

EXPLORATION: United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (Hayden). In Bear Canyon near Boulder City. Colorado Territory, July 1869.
EXPLORATION: United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (Hayden). In Bear Canyon near Boulder City. Colorado Territory, July 1869.

When I write of the women doctors, it is no way discounts Gardiner, Solly, Goodfellow, but also adds Avery, Preston, Spencer and others who worked at the same time as their male counterparts. I guess you could say I’m wanting to balance the scale, show that is took all people, to make the West, in fact all of what is our history.  So was the 20th anniversary of the Women Writing the West conference a success, for me it was.

So until next time, here is to history, all of it.

“Film and Photography on the Front Range” (Regional History Series): Colorado Springs, CO. Pikes Peak Library District 2012
Product Detailsavailable on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords      Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines






20 thoughts on “The Other Half

    1. Cindy, It was. I have managed to attend about every other year, and am so inspired when I return, despite being pretty tired. It has always been one of my favorites to attend. Doris


  1. Reblogged this on L.LEANDER BOOKS and commented:
    There is a fascinating post on Writing Wranglers and Warriors today written by Author Doris McCraw. Ms. McCraw is a history buff and brings that passion to her writing about early women (and men) who helped shape the west. You owe it to yourself to read this post and follow the links. I think you’ll be glad you did!


  2. All I can say is Wow! Doris, your information is fascinating. I really liked the post and the links you included. It was exciting to read about these early pioneers and the way they helped shape the west through their knowledge and skill. I have reblogged this on my site, as some of my readers also enjoy history. Thank you for giving us the chance to learn about some of our early history we might never have known about except for people like you!!


  3. I happily second the ‘to history’ comment! I am very impressed with all the lovely old photos you add to your posts becasue they make what is already interesting even more so. I’m glad you enjoyed the conference.


    1. Thank you Nancy. Yes, we live in the present, but history is what brought us to this place. The photos are from the USGS surveys and I just love them.

      The conference was such a great time. Doris


  4. The other half definitely needs to be told, Doris! I’m glad you had the opportunity to attend the conference–sounds perfect for you! By the way, for some reason, the pictures wouldn’t show up for me.


    1. Thanks Stephanie. It was a wonderful weekend, and the energy makes you believe that you can do what you set your mind to.

      I have noticed that some computers or systems cut out the pictures. I can pull this post up and work and sometimes they show and sometimes they don’t. Not sure why that happens, but it is frustrating. They do show up on the pinterest account….? Maybe I can get my ‘computer friend’ to explain it to me. Doris


  5. Through the decades I’ve read a lot about the men, both the heroes and scoundrels, of the Old West. Frankly, I want to read more about the women who traveled West… the farm wives, the wives in the towns and in cities like Denver and San Francisco, even the ones who ended up in the brothels and riding with outlaw gangs. Keep at it, Doris. More on the women doctors of Colorado.


    1. Thank you Mike. Can I quote you?

      The women doctors have me in their spell. Although I can take breaks, they are after me to tell their stories and that is one of my missions over the next year or so, for there are more than many people realize and their stories, well some are fabulous, some ordinary, but all unique and important to tell (at least to me). Thank you for the encouragement! Doris


    1. Would love to see you, Jacquie, but the drive to Oregon…? But you never know. I will say, I am always so inspired after it is over. The timing is a good one for me, summer busy is over and life is slowing down enough for me to get back to writing and research. Soon, we may get to the same one at the same time. Doris


  6. What a great experience. I know that meeting with other writers often urges me back to the computer to write. I imagine being able to meet with authors who share your passion for history sent you running to your computer.


    1. That it did, that it did. Of course, it also reminded me I have a couple of fiction pieces that are calling me to finish their story. Thank goodness for fall and winter, I can slow down and get them down. Doris


  7. Doris, I’m so excited for you! I know several women from Wyoming who attend this conference and they speak highly of it! I would like to go one day even though I don’t write that genre, just to meet more of these wonderful ladies … and spend time with friends like you! Keep up your great work, my friend — thanks for all the education you give us!


    1. Gayle, actually it is anyone who writes about the western experience past, present or future with the woman’s perspective. There are lots of folks who write some of the things you do. (Just a quick plug…grin)

      I always enjoy spending time with friends I ‘converse’ with online and meeting new friends. I hope you can join us one day soon. They are a supportive group of amazing people.

      As for the education…I can’t not share these stories, the people won’t let me allow to let them disappear. (Smile) Doris


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