Thursday, May 31, 2007

Testimonios: Early California Through the Eyes of Women

Just yesterday, on a sunny patio overlooking Mexico City's cathedral no less, I got my autographed copy of Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815–1848, Translated with introduction and commentary by Rose Marie Beebe and Robert M. Senkewicz. Here's the jacket text:

"When in the early 1870s historian Hubert Howe Bancroft sent interviewers out to gather oral histories from the pre-statehood gentry of California, he didn’t count on one thing: the women. When the men weren’t available, the interviewers collected the stories of the women of the household—almost as an afterthought. These were eventually archived at the University of California, although many were all but forgotten. Having lived through the gold rush and seen their country change so drastically, these women understood the need to tell the full story of the people and the places that were their California. Some of their words are translated here into English for the first time."

The stories and the voices are amazing. I'll be away from blogging for a day or so in order to finish it. Hasta la vista.