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Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of…

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West

by Dorothy Wickenden

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How truly inspiring! ( )
  lissabeth21 | Oct 3, 2017 |
My feelings are torn as I write a review for this book. It's a fascinating, true account of the author's grandmother and best friend leaving behind their life of spoiled society for a formative year of teaching children in the wilds of Colorado. This is what the cover copy promises. The reality is that this is makes up only a little over half the content of the book.

The start of the book is slow, riddled with irrelevant information that tries to establish the time and place but overdoes it in a major way. Background information on Woodrow Wilson and even the two women's time in Europe ends up feeling like prolonged info dumps. Once the narrative finally gets to Colorado--and stays there--the book is a fast, intriguing read. I became very fond of Dorothy and Ros. The author had access to a wealth of letters between the two women and their families--what a treasure trove! Their descriptions are vivid and delightful. I loved the epilogue, though I was very sad at some of the grief they endured at such young ages. It intrigued me to see how their year of teaching in Colorado impacted not only their lives, but that of the town where they lived and the small cluster of students they taught.

I will be keeping this book because it does offer a unique perspective on this time period, but potential readers should keep in mind that they may need to skim to reach the best parts of the book. And once they get there, they will be rewarded with a fantastic tale. ( )
  ladycato | Aug 6, 2017 |
Wickendon's account of Dorothy Woodruff's and Rosamond Underwood's transition from bored society girls in the East to pants-wearing pioneering teachers in rural northwestern Colorado is exhilarating and often hilarious. Pulled primarily from letters exchanged between the women and their families, the text offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of both upper-class families in New York and the rough and challenging existence of struggling frontier families in the West. Dorothy and Rosamond are refreshingly game for whatever challenges comes their way as they begin and end their adventure on the western frontier. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Oh my goodness what a GREAT story!! These turn of the century, pampered princesses were brave enough to venture into the Colorado wilderness and not only survived the adventure, but flourished! I love stories about strong, determined women and this one definitely filled that bill. Definitely recommend. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
This book got interesting when the Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood decide to accept jobs as teachers in Colorado. Their Grand Tour experiences aren’t really relevant to their Colorado sojourn save in that they used postcards they purchased as teaching aids. I didn’t mind the back stories on Farrington Carpenter, Bob Perry, the Moffatt Road, coal mining and the Harrison family. Commuting to and from the school for both teachers and their pupils was rough in the winter when a trail had to broken through the snow by horse and Dorothy and Roz would awaken to find snow on their blankets. It was a wonder that none of students lost digits to frostbite. Sometimes the families ran short because a lot of things came in by train from Denver to Hayden, Colorado and then it had to be delivered to the various homesteads and the track over the Great Divide was often blocked by snow. I don’t think Butch Cassidy, Elzy Lay, Queen Ann Bassett or her sister were relevant to the story as by 1904 most of the outlaws associated with the Bassetts were dead, imprisoned or had left the country. It was interesting once Dorothy and Roz got to Colorado but it took 79 pages to depart for Colorado. ( )
  lisa.schureman | Mar 20, 2016 |
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for Hermione and Caroline
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Prologue: One weekend afternoon in the fall of 2008, at the back of a drawer in my old wooden desk at home, I came across a folder I had forgotten.
July 27, 1916
A passenger train pulled into the Hayden depot at 10:45 PM with a piercing squeal of brakes, a long whistle, and the banging of steel shoes against couplers.
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The author tells the story of her grandmother Dorothy Woodruff and Dorothy's friend Rosamond Underwood, two society girls in upstate New York, who left home in the summer of 1916 to take jobs as teachers in the tiny Colorado settlement of Elkhead, drawing from their letters home, interviews with descendants, research, and trips to the region to reconstruct their adventures and discuss their lasting influence on their young students and others they met.
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"A captivating book about Dorothy Wickenden's grandmother, who left her affluent East Coast life to "rough it" as a teacher in Colorado in 1916"-- Provided by publisher.

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