Elise Waerenskjold is kwn to fans of Texas women writers as the lady with the pen, from the title of a book of her writings. A forward-looking journalist, she sent letters and articles back to Norway that encouraged others to follow her footsteps to Texas, where a small colony of Norwegian settlers were making a new life alongside-but distinct from-other European immigrants. Undaunted is the first full biography of Waerenskjold during her Texas years, a life story that shows much about Texas, especially in the Norwegian colonies, from 1847 until near the end of the century. Moreover, it tells the story of a strong and independent thinker who championed women's rights, was pro-Union and against slavery (though her husband was in the Confederate army and was subsequently murdered in Reconstruction-era violence), and left an intriguing body of writing about life on the edges of Texas settlement. Charles Russell's vivid account of Waerenskjold describes t only her influence among her countrymen but also her own life, which was a saga of considerable drama itself. It offers a clear and entertaining window onto immigrant life in Texas and the issues that shaped women's lives and elicited their talents in an earlier century.
Charles H. Russell is a retired college dean and professor of history, with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, USA. His interest in Waerenskjold, a Norwegian writer who immigrated to Texas in the mid-nineteenth century, is shared with his Norwegian wife, Inger, who has helped him translate Waerenskjold's writing as he has done the research for this book.
Texas A & M University Press
Date of Publication
Biography: Historical, Political & Military
Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities