By Ronald Michael James, C. Elizabeth Raymond
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Additional info for Comstock women: the making of a mining community
Louise Palmer wrote for publication in Page 4 the prestigious Overland Monthly, turning her free time and her literary gift to fame and profit as she archly described for public consumption her life as a social lion of the world-renowned Comstock Lode. Hers was a world of luncheon parties and choral societies, a place where women competed with each other by means of fashion. These two women led disparate lives. Louise Palmer, an upper-class woman of leisure, sought amusement. She was able to travel in pursuit of pleasure.
Its fortunes rose and fell with the price of shares. The women of Virginia City entered this exuberant economy as entrepreneurs of every sort, as both Mathews's memoir and the list of occupations in James and Fliess's appendix attest. 16 Theirs was not a rural world of women confined to traditional domestic and agricultural endeavors. Virginia City's work force was an industrial one, organized into relatively powerful unions. 17 An elaborate commercial infrastructure grew up to supply their desires.
Mining in Virginia City introduced permanent settlements and large-scale appropriation of natural resources into a delicately balanced system of seasonal hunting and foraging that had sustained the Northern Paiute for generations. Eugene Hattori argues, perhaps surprisingly, that Paiute culture survived this onslaught rather well. Due in large part to the activities of Paiute women, who adapted their traditional activities of foraging and food preparation to the new Euro-American economy, families remained intact, birth rates continued high, and the traditional cultural identity of the Northern Paiutes remained unimpaired.
Comstock women: the making of a mining community by Ronald Michael James, C. Elizabeth Raymond