Lincoln (Neb.) - Nov. 3, 2000 - Of the two great internal migration streams that shaped development of the United States in the 19th century, probably the lesser known is the migration of women to urban places.
Historians have long recognized that the westward migration was disproportionately male. More recently, they have acknowledged that urban settings attracted more women than men, although 19th-century culture represented cities as dangerous places, especially for women.
In the next Paul A. Olson Seminar in Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sharon Wood, assistant professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will examine that migration. In "Pioneers in the City: Women, Migration and Upward Mobility, 1864-1895," Wood will focus on a network of single, self-supporting women who settled in Davenport, Iowa, in the 1870s and 1880s.
The seminar will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium, 1400 R St. It is free and open to the public.
Wood will describe how nearly all of the women migrated alone, seeking employment or following career paths. Their "chain migration" linked sisters, friends and professional contacts, facilitating movement from the East into the trans-Mississippi region. Together, they helped women like themselves start businesses, pursue specialized training and create safe spaces for women in a city center infamous for prostitution.
The Olson Seminars are sponsored at UNL by the Center for Great Plains
Studies. "Pioneers in the City" is co-sponsored by the UNL Women's
For questions regarding these releases, contact:
(402) 472-8514, Fax: (402) 472-7825