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Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America (original 2003; edition 2005)
Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt (2003)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0893012629, Hardcover)Helga Estby and her daughter Clara left Spokane, Washington, in May 1896 to walk to New York City on a $10,000 wager. The money was needed to prevent foreclosure of their mortgage, hopefully saving the family homestead.
Helga was a Norwegian immigrant who married young, bore nine children, and endured fruitless years on the harsh Minnesota prairie before moving West. She and her husband Ole settled near the little Washington farm town of Rockford, only to be wiped out by the nationwide depression of 1893.
Lured by an offer from a mysterious sponsor, Helga was promised funds if she and her daughter walked unaided and unfinanced all the way to New York City. The women "tramped" the railroad lines through Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Omaha before reaching roads and "civilization" in the Midwest. They walked on through Chicago, Pennsylvania, and finally reached New York. On the arduous journey they faced extreme cold and heat, hunger and exposure, and even shot a man in the leg in self-defense. They met with mayors, governors, and other notables, such as, President-elect McKinley on his porch in Ohio.
On Christmas Eve, 1896, the New York World reported their arrival in New York City. What followed was an American tragedy.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:58 -0400)
In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight named Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage when she learned that a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who walked across America. Hoping to save her family's farm, Helga and her teenaged daughter Clara, armed with little more than a compass, red-pepper spray, a revolver, and Clara's curling iron, set out on foot from Eastern Washington. Their route would pass through 14 states, but they were not allowed to carry more than five dollars each. As they visited Indian reservations, Western boomtowns, remote ranches and local civic leaders, they confronted snowstorms, hunger, thieves and mountain lions. Their journey to New York challenged contemporary notions of femininity and captured the public imagination--but their trip had such devastating consequences that their achievement was blanketed in silence for nearly a century.--From publisher description.
(summary from another edition)
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