Members of the Regiment: Army Officers' Wives on the Western Frontier, 1865-1890

Members of the Regiment: Army Officers' Wives on the Western Frontier, 1865-1890

Members of the Regiment: Army Officers' Wives on the Western Frontier, 1865-1890

Members of the Regiment: Army Officers' Wives on the Western Frontier, 1865-1890

Synopsis

Many extraordinary women traveled west with their Army officer husbands between 1865 and 1890 and discovered a world that was completely controlled by the United States Army. The Army as a public institution colored virtually every aspect of their domestic lives. Army directives, customs, and traditions imposed social obligations on these women, and the world of the frontier Army garrison continually challenged their sense of what it meant to be "true women." Remarkably, they flourished and established a defined role for themselves that went beyond the conventional definition of true womanhood.

Excerpt

I must thank Betty Rutherford, an Army officer's wife who really began my interest in this project. Betty could not understand why no one had been interested enough in Army wives to write about them and encouraged me to "do something about it." Her enthusiasm and encouragement were an inspiration to many Army wives.

This project began as my dissertation at Kansas State University. I am deeply indebted to Professors Don Mrozek, Robin Higham, Marian Gray, and Alden Williams for their continued support, encouragement, and critical appraisals of my work. To Professor Sue Zschoche, my major professor, I owe more than I can repay. She taught me the importance and significance of women's history--for which I will always be grateful. She treated me with patience and respect and maintained the highest standards of professionalism. She gave me wise counsel and was for me, and for many others, a true mentor.

To Alan Aimone, Judy Selby, and the staff of the United States Military Academy library at West Point I owe a debt of thanks. Their assistance and cooperation during two visits and numerous telephone conversations made this project possible. Their extensive knowledge provided me with sources and material that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

For their acknowledgment of the importance of this subject through the award of a dissertation fellowship, I must thank the Center of Military History in Washington, D.C. Their personal concern, professional courtesies, and financial support provided me with a much-needed incentive to complete this project.

Finally, for their numerous and varied ideas, their support and interest, and their continuous telling of tales, I must thank the many contemporary Army officers' wives who shared in the beginnings of this project--a truly remarkable group of women.

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