Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes

Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes

Club Selection for June 2016

Ladies of the Canyons

A League of Extraordinary Women and Their Adventures in the American Southwest

Lesley Poling-Kempes

Pages: 384

Ladies of the Canyons is the true story of remarkable women who left the security and comforts of genteel Victorian society and journeyed to the American Southwest in search of a wider view of themselves and their world.

Educated, restless, and inquisitive, Natalie Curtis, Carol Stanley, Alice Klauber, and Mary Cabot Wheelwright were plucky, intrepid women whose lives were transformed in the first decades of the twentieth century by the people and the landscape of the American Southwest. Part of an influential circle of women that included Louisa Wade Wetherill, Alice Corbin Henderson, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Mary Austin, and Willa Cather, these ladies imagined and created a new home territory, a new society, and a new identity for themselves and for the women who would follow them.

Their adventures were shared with the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and Robert Henri, Edgar Hewett and Charles Lummis, Chief Tawakwaptiwa of the Hopi, and Hostiin Klah of the Navajo. Their journeys took them to Monument Valley and Rainbow Bridge, into Canyon de Chelly, and across the high mesas of the Hopi, down through the Grand Canyon, and over the red desert of the Four Corners, to the pueblos along the Rio Grande and the villages in the mountains between Santa Fe and Taos.

Although their stories converge in the outback of the American Southwest, the saga of Ladies of the Canyons is also the tale of Boston’s Brahmins, the Greenwich Village avant-garde, the birth of American modern art, and Santa Fe’s art and literary colony.

Ladies of the Canyons is the story of New Women stepping boldly into the New World of inconspicuous success, ambitious failure, and the personal challenges experienced by women and men during the emergence of the Modern Age.

Novel Gobblers Perspective

Carol's Rating:  ★★★★

What a wonderful book! Fully intriguing and enlightening! I was surprised and impressed by these independent, educated, visionary women who made deliberate choices to live their lives as they desired -- free from the customary dictates of marriage, materialism, and society of their Eastern upbringing. It was fascinating to learn of their adventures and accomplishments and most importantly, the legacies they left to preserve elements of the precious cultures of the region.

Catherine's Rating:  ★★★★

This book pleasantly surprised me to be more interesting than I anticipated. The parallels between the lives of these independent, courageous, hardy women was fascinating. Their determination not to let their gender determine their fates was very remarkable.


Happy Reading!