Books in the gold rush

Books in the gold rush were as rare as women were, and maybe more so. The miners valued any reading matter they could get. Books were passed from man to man and camp to camp and read and reread until the pages literally fell apart. Men would sit beside the fire in their cabins at night and read aloud. Others would gather around to listen. Aside from gambling and drinking there wasn’t much nightlife in the early gold country anyway and a good book was a prized possession that brought joy and … [Read more...]

Women in the Gold Rush

“Got nearer to a woman this evening than I have been in six months. Came near fainting,” said one lonely California miner. There were few women before the discovery of gold, but as more and more men jumped ship or deserted the army for the mines and the 49ers arrived from across the world having left a wife or girlfriend behind just the sight of a woman was far more rare than a rich gold strike. And yet a woman was there, in person, at the very beginning. Jenny Wimmer cooked for the men … [Read more...]