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Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  537 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
IN 1912, the first year of Arizona's statehood, rural Verde Valley was home to enterprising ranchers and farmers who raised cattle, crops and children. These children needed a school. So just as they mail-ordered supplies from the Sears catalog, the community mail-ordered a teacher.ELSIE HAYES, a college graduate, came from a world of concerts and literary clubs. The teach ...more
Kindle Edition, 218 pages
Published October 21st 2011 by Palomar Mountain Bookworks (first published January 1st 2011)
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Oct 03, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-free
I am sure this book, which consists primarily of letters and short diary entries with some supplementary material, would be an excellent resource for a researcher or a writer working on a novel set in this time period. But as a reader, I must admit I found some of it rather dry and lacking in substance and emotion.

I had expected something more like a biography or a story. The diary entries were generally short and often abbreviated. Elsie's diary was not the confessional sort we'd expect today
Bernice Rocque
Jun 02, 2013 Bernice Rocque rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elsie, the Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916, was a wonderful read! The best aspect for me was that I could read the actual words of a woman who lived a hundred years ago. Elsie Reed was an independent woman, well educated, from a loving family, but not spoiled. In 1913, Elsie accepted a job teaching in one of the more remote areas of Arizona which had become a state the previous year.

The treasure trove of diaries and letters of her life between 1913-1916, compiled and annotated
Dec 10, 2011 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
There’s something about the contrast of a cultured young woman displaced in a rough frontier setting and successfully forging a new life for herself that stirs my imagination. Think Ma Ingalls making a home for her girls in the Little House> books; Abbie setting a joyful example for her family with a Lantern in Her Hand; or Katherine Mary following her Canadian mounty through the pages of Mrs. Mike.

Then add Elsie Hayes, from Barbara Anne Waite’s Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher, 1913-
May 17, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I received this book in exchange for an honest review through the group, Basically Books.

I am slightly biased on my love for this book as I grew up having a close relationship with my Great Grandma. She was born in 1902 and lived to be 101 years old. Hearing her stories (which always started with, "Well I don't remember everything" and ended two or three hours later) was the highlight of my childhood. After my Grandma married and had children, my Great Grandma spent several months of the year tr
Holly Weiss
“Well there was this cowboy…” corrals your attention on the first page of Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher. Writing a biography requires not just a talented author, but also a compelling subject. Barbara Anne Waite’s book about three years in her grandmother’s life have both. Published to coincide with Arizona’s centennial, the book discloses the socio-economic climate during the early 20th century. It captures Elsie’s sense of adventure, optimism and self-assurance. The reader is ...more
Jessica McCann
Jan 21, 2012 Jessica McCann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Arizona’s centennial date approaches (February 14, 2012), here is a book that lovingly captures the state’s adventurous and optimistic spirit through the diary entries and letters of a young school teacher from 1913-1916.

Elsie Hayes arrived to the new state by train from California, eager to begin her first teaching job in the farming community of Cornville. She wrote home with great detail and fondness about the people, places and things she encountered. She wrote of the humble school house
Delightful book; could not put it down. Interesting format - entire story is told thru Elsie's diary entries, letters to and from her, and some added footnotes and comments provided by her granddaughter, Barbara Waite. The setting is rural Arizona (Cornville, Williams) from 1913 thru 1916. Elsie (from California) was hired to teach the children of the area in a one-room schoolhouse. She lives with her teaching companion in a self-described "shack". Imagine a world with no TV, no radio, no runnin ...more
May 03, 2013 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-of-2013
I enjoy anything "old west" and was hoping for a little more excitement and adventure here. The story starts with the granddaughter asking Elsie if there was anyone in her life before grandpa and Elsie responds, "There was a cowboy..." . So I'm thinking this could be interesting and fun. But it truly IS just day to day diary entries and several letters back and forth to her parents during her time teaching in two different towns in early 1900s Arizona. I was bored silly reading elaborate descrip ...more
Sep 21, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book initially caught my interest because it takes place in AZ where I grew up! I immediately was captivated by this young woman at the turn of the century on an amazing adventure, not unlike one I had just taken when moving across the country. I found her journal entries to be really frustrating most of the time, as she scarcely ever divulged her deeper feelings. Yet I kept reading because I wanted to find out where her life would take her next. Luckily the author was able to supplement wi ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I can recommend this book enough.

The book was supposed to carry me over on a flight. What I didn't expect was for it to suck me in and completely engross me in the lives of very real people.

I loved this look at the old West. Reading the diary of Elsie made me go through a variety of emotions. I laughed when she and her roommate first arrived in the frontier town, cheered when she fell in love, and tried not to cry when everything fell apart.

The plot of Elsie's life is much bett
Mary Ann
Aug 11, 2012 Mary Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book very interesting and enjoyable. Brought back many pleasant memories of my own experiences in that part of Arizona. One of my favorites is "Montezuma's Well", and to read Elsie's adventures throughout this area was fun. Her story told thru the journal, letters & people she knew was very well done. A good read for people interested in the "history of a state".
Nov 19, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading historical books, especially when they are truly based on real life people with actual true accounts of what happened. Events in this book were taken from journals written by the main character. Read and enjoy this adventure into true, real life of the past.
Mar 09, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Really enjoyed this.
It totally made me feel unadventurous when compared to those school-teachers of so long ago. Elsie Hayes went tramping nearly every weekend when there was fine weather. She was always up for a new experience and seeing more of her environment.
Dec 19, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2014
I really enjoyed this book. Those women were extremely brave to go west to teach and some developed long standing relationships with their students. A lot of fun from an Amazon bargain book.
L.H. Thomson
Mar 28, 2012 L.H. Thomson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starts quite brilliantly, loses some momentum from there, but history buffs will enjoy it.

I struggled with how to rate this book. If you love historical non-fiction, you're going to like this more than ... well, anyone else, really. It's not so much a narrative as a diary, with comments interspersed by the diary writer's granddaughter.

Her grandmother's tale is interesting, but not astounding or surprising. It's personal, due to a relationship she mishandles badly, seriously scarring the other pa
Christoph Fischer
"Elsie - Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913 - 1916" by Barbara Anne Waite was recommended to me by a friend whose literary judgement I trust and this book was a good reminder why.
The book is a cleverly composed annotated memoir by the granddaughter of Elsie, a Schoolteacher in Arizona 1913 - 1916. Having a soft spot for Arizona this was a double treat, as I not only got reminded of many great sights in the beautiful country but also got a chance of a well researched, documented and illu
Linda Martin
Apr 22, 2013 Linda Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone researching the early 1900's
Elsie was a schoolteacher in Arizona for a few years, starting in 1913. This book is a compilation of her short diary entries, plus a few letters home during that time. It was compiled by her granddaughter, Barbara Anne Waite, after Elsie passed away.

Barbara asked her grandmother whether she had ever loved anyone before marrying her grandfather. Elsie's tearful answer sets up a sense of mystery. The reader is enticed to read on, hoping to find out what mystery her grandmother had been keeping a
Elizabeth Pruett
Jun 09, 2013 Elizabeth Pruett rated it it was amazing
Barbara Anne Waite and I must have some things in common because this book about her grandmother is exactly the kind of book I can see myself putting together. Elsie - Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916 is a compilation of journals, letters, and newspaper articles from a short period of time in the life of a young woman about my own age. We even read some of the same books (such as Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter). This kind of book may not be everyone's cup of te ...more
Barbara M
I enjoyed this true story about Elsie, a well educated cultured woman who moved to the frontier to take a job as a school teacher in 1913. It's an interesting look at life on the frontier, a working woman in 1913, and the life of a new school teacher.

Elsie's grand-daughter compiled the book from materials she found and interviews. The majority of the book is Elsie's diary - short recordings of what her life was like - day by day. It was very hard for Elsie to be separated from her family - the b
An absorbing, inspiring book! Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher chronicles, mostly in Elsie Hayes' own words, a remarkable young woman's years of teaching school in the new state of Arizona—first in a small rural school on Oak Creek, and later in a larger grade school in the more settled town of Williams—years that would bring her joy, sorrow and romance alike. Her diary entries and letters home to family in California sketch a fascinating picture of everyday living on the Verde Vall ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book on life as a teacher in the new state of Arizona. It was compiled by her granddaughter, who used her diary, letters, and research surrounding the time Elsie Hayes spent in Arizona. She was a school teacher from California who ventured in the "wilds" of a state newly brought into the union. She first taught at Cornville, where they did not have any of the modern conveniences of the time. From there, she taught at Williams for two years. It was quite a fascinating read! I ...more
Aug 06, 2013 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun to read about the past of places I've lived in and visited extensively such as Jerome and Prescott, Arizona, as well as Los Angeles. I would have enjoyed reading more about her actual teaching experiences -- very little described in either her letters or diary entries. Still, an interesting view of a life lived in places I have lived yet lived quite differently from how I've lived. Favorite passage from the book:

There are those who fear shapes in the darkness,
Those who tremble at dr
Alyssa Pivirotto
May 12, 2012 Alyssa Pivirotto rated it really liked it
*I received this book through the Goodreads group, Basically Books.*

All in all this was a very enjoyable book. I loved how the author kept the same wording in all of Elsie's letters. Aunt Mamie's letters were especially interesting... I loved how Aunt Mamie abbreviated the words like "you", "see", and "too" in her letters. The pictures the author included were really fascinating and definitely added to the story. On the other hand some parts in the middle were a little repetitive especially when
Jul 16, 2013 Amy rated it it was amazing
This book was very enjoyable, my best friend teaches in a small two room school in rural Montana, that was what spurred my interest in this book. The look into pioneer teaching was insightful and eye opening. What life in those early years has always been interesting and a great mystery in itself. This book follows Elsie through her three years as a teacher in Arizona. It is comprised of diary entries and letters to and from Elsie herself. It must have been interesting for her granddaughter to h ...more
I found this book to be fascinating. It gives the reader a glimpse into the life of a teacher. The book Elise: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher allows the reader to see the challenges that the school teachers of this bygone era face. It is almost incomprehensible at some levels what primitive conditions some teachers taught under. It also shows the utter glory of the teaching profession in that time. I liked the book because it also gave a true glimpse into what life was like. Elsie's diar ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Trisha rated it really liked it
Sweet snapshot of time

Sweet snapshot of time

I wasn't sure what to think of this book when I first started reading it, but I'm so glad I finished it. It's a quick read with historical and anecdotal details about Elsie's life and what it was like to be a schoolteacher in the new state of Arizona from 1913-1916.

The format is a combination of diary entries, letters, and prose. I was stuck by how many similarities there were 100 years later. She treated her diary as many treat Facebook today, in that
May 19, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Barbara Waite
As an elementary teacher, I found this memoir of what it was like to teach in Arizona right after it achieved statehood extremely interesting. The photos, drawings, and letters were marvelous, and the author, Barbara Waite, did an excellent job pulling it all together with her own narrative; in fact, I wish there had been more of that. The only part that I felt could have been omitted were some of the short diary entries when they became repetitive, although they did give the reader more of a fe ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this. It is a melding of the diary and letters from the author's grandmother with some historical prose between to create a more complete history. The author does a fabulous job of presenting three years of her grandmother's life, which give a view of the settlement and development of Arizona that is unembellished. It is the presentation of a set of primary historical documents in a readable format. It is clear what has been added to create a timeline for the reader. If you are ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Through journals, letters, and occasional explanatory segues, Waite stitches together the story of her grandmother's youth. Although the result makes for a narrative a bit short on dramatic details, I'd say this enhances the enjoyment rather than detracts from it. Elsie's voice--exuberant, sparkling naivety eventually morphing to something much more substantial and real--contains a vivacious freshness that fairly leaps from the page. Waite's restrained comments offer just the right amount of exp ...more
Dec 10, 2012 Dee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at a plucky young woman from an earlier era. This book is basically a compilation of diary entries and letters written and received by a young school teacher in the early part of the 20th century. It tended to drag often because of the copious diary entries. I think this book could have used some heavy editing which would have tightened it up considerably without losing the flavor of this true "slice of life" tale offering intriguing glimpses into Arizona's early years and th ...more
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