Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” as Want to Read:
Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Letters of a Woman Homesteader

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  3,112 ratings  ·  503 reviews
"Peopled with the kinds of characters most novelists only dream of"(Christian Science Monitor), this classic account of American frontier living captures the rambunctious spirit of a pioneer who set out in 1909 to prove that a woman could ranch. Stewart's captivating missives from her homestead in Wyoming bring to full life the beauty, isolation, and joys of working the pr ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by Mariner Books (first published May 1st 1914)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Letters of a Woman Homesteader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Letters of a Woman Homesteader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Carla Baku
Jan 03, 2008 Carla Baku rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants some inspiration
This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I have probably read it at least a dozen times. This is the story of a person who followed her heart and worked incredibly hard; the end result is that she built a life she loved. Set in Wyoming at the start of the 20th century, Stewart (a widowed single mother)left the drudgery of taking in wash to work on a cattle ranch and prove up her own piece of land for homesteading.

She writes with wonderful droll humor and remarkable insight to the human
Sep 04, 2012 Chrissie marked it as own-unread  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, kindle, usa, history
Right now the Kindle version if free at Amazon.
Lise Petrauskas
I have fallen in love with Elinore Pruitt Stuart. For one thing, she's witty and kind. For another, I love her philosophy of scaring off troubles with a belly laugh. She's a keen observer of people and loves and can describe natural beauty. She is independent, curious, loyal, likes to eat, is kind to children and animals, is not afraid of hard work, is open-minded, and is honest enough to laugh at herself when she is wrong. She seems to have made friends easily, which is natural probably for som ...more
Sep 14, 2010 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women homesteaders
These letters make for a fascinating narrative and descriptive journal of Mrs. Stewart's life, moving from the city to a Wyoming homestead, marrying and still having the determination to homestead ON HER OWN. She is a very positive, optimistic individual, generous and giving, nearly always seeing the positive in others. Her words and attitude are inspirational.

Whether tidbits are fabricated or exaggerated is a bit of topic of debate. However, the general storylines, characters, and situations ar
Letters of a Woman Homesteader hits close to my heart. My husband and I farm the land that his grand-parents first homestead in the 1910’s. I was not born here but I immigrated from Brazil close to 25 years ago. It was, and in some ways still is, a very hard adaptation to rural life and Canadian winters. I often think of those women pioneers that braved this land without the amenities I have: indoor plumbing, electricity, cars, phones, internet. Their stories and bravery is still part of the loc ...more
Of course I rate this book a five because my great grandmother wrote it and I can relate to it because of my grandmother's stories about growing up. However, if I was not related, I would still love this book because it is very similar in style to Jack London's prose. It has historical and sentimental value.
Probably one of my most favorite things to read are the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Aside from getting all atwitter over exact instructions on how to make my own meat smokehouse, I love the parts of the books that focus on the gritty side of life - like having to deal with Nellie Oleson, or the very real possibility of being killed in a freak blizzard, or tornado season. What can I say, I like drama.

Letters of a Woman Homesteader reminds me of a more grown-up, dramatic, and shor
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this series of letters written by a young widow on the Wyoming frontier, sent regularly from 1909 to 1913 to her friend back home in Denver. Since the letters were not originally intended for publication, they are very personal and chatty, and I felt when reading them as if I had stumbled onto a dusty pile of letters from a long-gone great-grandmother and was discovering a piece of forgotten family history for the first time. This is part of the charm of this book; i ...more
Thom Swennes
Positive delightful! Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart is a collection of highly readable, interesting, informative, moving and occasionally very humorous letters. She wrote epically long letters to everyone that showed the slightest interest in reading them. It is a shame that she settled on this as a medium of displaying her considerable talent. The letters were written to various recipients during the period 1909-1913 and covered many subjects. The letters were first pu ...more
Finished with my latest Kindle book, I wondered what I would read next. I wasn't ready to cough up another $10 for a regular book, but I was tired of reading samples. A regular book was out of the question - I was already in bed, and a two-handed read was just too much to consider. (Wah.) So I came upon this, Letters of a Woman Homesteader, for FREE on Kindle. My expectations were low. Free? A series of letters, written by a woman who never had ANY formal schooling, during the late 1800's to ear ...more
Jennie Pratt
I was quite taken by surprise when I started reading this book. What a little gem! This is typically not my first, second, third... you get the idea... choice in subject matter for books I read. What an adventure! What a life! What a community! Elinore's narrative, through her letters to a former employer, describes a desolate life in a bleak land that even sweet corn won't grow in. Alas, if you sit and wallow in all you don't have it will make your life that much harder. Elinore's powerful opti ...more
Jennifer Hughes
I really enjoy books that give a perfect little snapshot of a moment in time. It's like looking at pictures in written form.

This was one such book, a collection of letters written by a Wyoming homesteader between 1909-13. Mrs. Stewart had a minimal education but is a natural writer. Each letter is a snippet, a little story, of a moment in history. The people and scenes she writes about are described so well that they came to life. For me that is the essence of a truly good book: I didn't want m
A fiercely independent woman, setting off on her own to "homestead" a plot of land in Wyoming in 1909? Sign me up! Elinore was a young widow with a toddler when she decided she wanted her own land and space in a new territory - and she encouraged other women that they, too, could make it. Through her letters to her former employer/friend, she tells of snowstorms and beautiful vistas, and a motley crew of other settlers with their own fascinating back stories. Essentially, she reminded me of an o ...more
Such a fascinating read on the lives of women from another time. Pioneering women, finding themselves in incredibly alien and inhospitable conditions who rise to the challenge of surviving and then move on to creating a productive and enjoyable life for not only themselves but those around them. They were so often driven by the need to provide a good life for a growing brood. I have read similar stories of women in Australia and New Zealand faced with huge challenges and creating wonderful lives ...more
I absolutely loved it! I did this one on audiobook, and it was amazing. These are "genuine letters" to a friend by a woman who staked a claim to land in Wyoming around 1909. The letters are so good it's hard to imagine some industrious female farmer dashing them off after a long day of labor. But so she did, I guess. The letters are all addressed to one particular friend, a former boss in Chicago. The woman homesteader tells stories about her adventures and explorations, her new friends, and her ...more
This book is a collection of actual letters written by Elinore Rupert Stewart during the 1900’s to her former employer (Mrs. Coney). She quit her job as laundrywoman of Mrs. Coney and set out to become a homesteader.

The letters, written in a very delightful manner speaks of Mrs. Stewart’s life experiences as a homesteader, as well as her encounters with different people in her home life and in her journeys. More importantly, the letters speak of women’s strength and independence, that anything
This book is really strange! It's a collection of letters sturdy pioneer lady Elinore Pruitt Stewart wrote to a former employer, but as frequently as she seems to be corresponding with her old boss she almost never makes references to the letters she's receiving. What a strangely one-sided correspondence. Either these letters have been edited, they're fake, or Elinore Pruitt Stewart was the most self-absorbed homesteader in American history. I'm really interested in the provenance of the letters ...more
Teri Momeyer
This is a series of actual letters spanning from 1909 to 1913 written by a woman, a single mother, who has settled in the Wyoming wilderness. She is writing to her former employer. She is constantly optimistic and cheerful, looking for the positive in everything. Although bad things happen, she plays them down and often omits them from her narratives. She is mostly fearless and doesn't worry much. She loves natural beauty, the mountains, and independence. She also loves to write, has great wit a ...more
I love true stories, and I especially love them to be told in the voice of people who actually participated in the action. This book is a compilation of letters that (I believe) begin in 1909 and span approximately six or seven years. The woman writing these letters, called Elinore, was a washlady in Denver, CO. She received some advice to become a housekeeper for a ranch owner in the remote Wyoming wilderness (called "homesteaders" back then). These letters are written to a friend of hers, and ...more
I have an interest in how women lived in the 1800's and before. I am particularly interested in women who were pioneers or homesteaders at this time, carving out an existence with beauty and happiness in the wilderness of the west.

Elinore Pruitt Stewart homesteaded near Green River Wyoming, which is where my dad and his family are from. She was not a Mormon which was also a different twist on the pioneer/homesteader experience in this area at the time.

This is a true story put together from the

I wanted to read this to see if Pruitt's account of frontier life would provide a stark contrast to the idealistic tone of the Little House series. To my surprise, it really didn't. This little collection of letters reflected a woman who was no doubt candid and spunky, but also joyfully optimistic. She speaks of finding satisfaction in her work and speaks with humor and levity when she bumps into misfortune. It seems that in the midst of the dust and adversity of carving out a life in the early
Patty Marion
Very interesting journal of a widowed mother of a small child who, without a man to take care of her, goes to the western frontier to make a life for herself and child. Very unlike other narratives I've read as she is so fiercly independent, she thinks nothing of going on overnight "field trips" into the mountains or plains by herself or with her child. Lots of vivid descriptions of the environs and appreciation for the glory of nature. She had the most positive and upbeat attitudes of any pione ...more
The good-humored Elinore Pruitt Stewart, who left her life as a washer woman in 1909 Denver to try her hand at homesteading, made me ashamed to be such a grumbler. I'm loath to use the word "inspiration." But she's an inspiration. Baby need delivering? She did it. Garden need planting, cows need milking, neighbors need cheering up? Get out of the way. Her capacity for adventure, for taking pleasure in her environment, for enjoying her family and caring for her friends is wonderful. And she's fun ...more
A good bit of this was rather like a warm fuzzy! The woman had her own unique writing style which expressed her indominatable upbeat spirit and attitude towards life. Seems over the last many, many years I've read various 1st person pioneer accounts and so many express the hardships and the difficulties encountered well, but so few get into real joy. And her faith was one of joy, she had as many disillusioning happenings as anyone, but somehow, no matter what, you couldn't keep her down for long ...more
Mary Anne
Loved these letters. I think the book was a freebie for Kindle. While not an early pioneer, Stewart was a homesteader in Wyoming in the early 1900s and a very gifted writer. Her letters reveal her kindness and optimism and self-reliance, as well as a good humorous outlook on events around her. So wonderful that her friend in Denver apparently appreciated the letters too--enough so, that they were eventually published!Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Zen Cho
It was all right, I guess. Stewart keeps on doing a thing where she suddenly has a new baby and you're like, wot? This is a different one from the baby mentioned three letters ago? Like Watson and his wives!

Think it'd probably be good to read for research if you were going to write in that era, from the POV of that kind of person. Racism typical of the period, though even so I was weirded out by a little contest she holds for the best chocolate-covered representation of a black person. ...

A fun quick read-- except for some deeply disturbing bits, which see below... Similar in theme and tone to We Took To the Woods. Of course the author experienced things in a much more complicated way than she wrote about them ... the somewhat coy way she reveals to her correspondent the facts of her son's birth etc lets her conceal her deeper feelings, I think.

Ok, when I first reviewed this it was late and I was on my phone, so I didn't (privilege!) remember to comment on this. The author is a p
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loved Little House on the Prairie.
 Barb Bailey
Well , I really loved this book. Through Elinore's letters one can get a true account of life on the American frontier. She set out to homestead in Wyoming in 1909, and through her determination, hard work, and unsinkable spirit she achieved her goal. Her pure affection for family, friends and neighbors, delight in nature, and generosity made her letters a pleasure to read. Had I lived in those days I would have liked to have been her neighbor.
Elinore lost her husband in a railway accident and made her way to Denver to find work to support herself and her infant daughter. After working as a laundress for Mrs. Coney, she accepts a position as a housekeeper for a Scottish rancher in Wyoming, where she files a claim for her own land.

Her letters to Mrs. Coney span the first few years of her life as a female homesteader. She is in love with the beautiful mountains and pine forests, and isn't afraid of hard work or wild animals. However, sh
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier
  • A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains
  • Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey
  • Covered Wagon Women: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails, 1840-1849 (Covered Wagon Women, #1)
  • The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy
  • Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier
  • Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier
  • Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album
  • No Life for a Lady
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Bad Land: An American Romance
  • Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children
  • Elsie: Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916
  • Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife
  • Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today
  • The Life of Abraham Lincoln
  • Einstein's Refrigerator and Other Stories from the Flip Side of History
  • Winter: Notes from  Montana
Letters on an Elk Hunt by a Woman Homesteader LETTERS OF A WOMAN HOMESTEADER (Illustrated) Letters on an Elk Hunt by a Woman Homesteader, & Letters of a Woman Homesteader Cartas de una cazadora y otras mujeres de la frontera The Wyoming Ranch Letters: The Collected Correspondence of a Woman Settler on the American Frontier-Letters of a Woman Homesteader & Letters on an Elk Hunt

Share This Book

“My brother Calvin is very sweet. God had to give him to us because he squealed so much he sturbed the angels. We are not angels so he dont sturb us.” 1 likes
“Fallen trees were everywhere and we had to avoid the branches, which was powerful hard to do. Besides, it was quite dusky among the trees long before night, but it was all so grand and awe-inspiring. Occasionally there was an opening through which we could see the snowy peaks, seemingly just beyond us, toward which we were headed.But when you get among such grandeur you get to feel how little you are and how foolish is human endeavor, except that which reunites us with the mighty force called god. I was plumb uncomfortable, because all my own efforts have always been just to make the best of everything and to take things as they come.” 0 likes
More quotes…