Synopses & Reviews
History has long ignored many of the earliest female pioneers of the Far North - the prostitutes and other "disreputable" women who joined the mass pilgrimage to the booming gold camps of Alaska and the Yukon at the turn of the century. Leaving behind their hometowns and most constraints of the post-Victorian era, the "good time girls" crossed both geographic and social frontiers, finding freedom, independence, hardship, heartbreak, adn sometimes astonishing wealth. These women posessed teh courage and perseverance to brave a dangerous journey of more than a thousand miles, into a harsh wilderness where men sometimes outnumbered them more than ten to one. Many of these women later became successful entrepreneurs, wealthy property owners, or the wives of prominent citizens; one former prostitute married the mayor of Fairbanks and hosted a visit from President Warren G. Harding. Their influence changed life in the Far North forever. Lael Morgan offers an authentic, sympathetic, poignant, and often deliciously humorous account of women wh were extraordinarily independent even by today's standards.
"...Fascinating reading...the abundant, luscious photographs of these amazing women, the 'cribs' from which they worked, their customers, their lovers, and the frontier towns they helped to pioneer are themselves worth the price of the book."
--Linda Jaivin, Los Angeles Times
"...Fresh, gutsy...," led a list of 10 "under-hyped" exceptional books of 1998. --Ted Rose, Brill's Content
"If you come to Morgan's book with fictional stereotypes, you won't keep them long when you read about the real women. True tales about Mae Field, Corrine B. Gray, Edith Neile, and the women who first braved the trails are grittier than any fictional account." --Nancy Brown, (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion
"Just check your moral judgments at the door and settle in for an evening of wild reading." --Susan English, (Spokane, WA) Spokesman-Review
"Sympathetic and poignant." -- Palo Alto (CA) Daily News
"Loaded with facts and a sense of place, it's a provocative look at a sensational time and spirit." -- San Francisco Examiner
"This works unique perspective and splendid period photos make it a recommended purchase..." --Library Journal
Lael Morgan named Alaska Historian of the Year (1998) for her work on Good Time Girls. --Alaska Historical Society
"Good Time Girls
is an important and entertaining addition to gold rush literature. These women are as important a part of the Klondike story as Big Alex and Swiftwater Bill. After all, they too were gold diggers."
--Klondike historian Pierre Berton
"One of the 10 best non-fiction books of 1998."
Morgan offers an authentic and deliciously humorous account of the prostitutes and other "disreputable" women who were the earliest female pioneers of the Far North.
In the boomtowns of the Alaska-Yukon stampedes, where gold dust was common currency, the rarest commodity was an attractive woman, and her company could be costly. Author Lael Morgan takes you into the heart of the gold rush demimonde, that "half world" of prostitutes, dance hall girls, and entertainers who lived on the outskirts of polite society. Meet "Dutch Kate" Wilson, who pioneered many areas long before the "respectable" women who received credit for getting there first ... ruthless heartbreakers Cad Wilson and Rose Blumkin ... "French" Marie Larose, who auctioned herself off as a wife to the highest bidder, Georgia Lee, who invested her earnings wisely and became one of the richest women in the North, and Edith Neile, called "the Oregon Mare," famous for both her outlandish behavior and her softhearted generosity.
In the boomtowns of the Alaska-Yukon stampedes, where gold dust was common currency, the rarest commodity was an attractive woman, and her company could be costly.
About the Author
Lael Morgan was born in rural Maine and has lived more than half her life in the wilds. She started her writing career as a reporter for the Malden Press in Massachusetts. Later she became a photojournalist at the Juneau Empire in Alaska's capitol city, and then covered crime, politics and the old red light district for the Fairbanks News Miner just south of the Arctic Circle.
In 1968, Morgan began a five year stint at the Los Angeles Times, and then returned to the Far North for assignments with National Geographic, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Alaska Magazine.
In 1988 she joined the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she taught writing, photography and multimedia for 12 years. In 1999 she became managing editor and later publisher of the Casco Bay Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Portland, Maine. Then, motivated by a low threshold of boredom, she moved south to Arlington, Texas, where she went to work for the Department of Communication, University of Texas Arlington.
Morgan has authored more than a dozen books, including Good Time Girls of the Alaska Yukon Gold Rush which in 1998 won her the title of Historian of the Year from the Alaska Historical Society. Art and Eskimo Power: The Life and Times of Alaskan Howard Rock, a book she wrote in 1988, was recently included in a listing state's best nonfiction books, and has been republished by University of Alaska Press.