Devoted wife and mother. Acclaimed novelist, illustrator, and
interpreter of the American West. At a time when society expected
women to concentrate on family and hearth, Mary Hallock Foote
(1847-1938) published twelve novels, four short story collections,
almost two dozen stories and essays, and innumerable illustrations.
In "Mary Hallock Foote, " Darlis A. Willer examines the life of
this gifted and spirited woman from the East as she adapted herself
and her artistic vision to the West.
Foote's images of the American West differed sharply from those
offered by male artists and writers of the time. She depicted a
more gentle West, a domestic West of families and settlements
rather than a Wild West of soldiers, American Indians, and cowboys.
Miller examines how Foote's career was molded by the East-West
tensions she experienced throughout her adult life and by society's
expectations of womanhood and motherhood.
This biography recounts Foote's Quaker upbringing; her education
at the School of Design for Women at Cooper Union, New York; her
marriage to Arthur De Wint Foote, including his alcohol problems;
her life in Boise, Idaho, and later Grass Valley, California; her
grief over the early death of daughter Agnes Foote; and the
previously unexplored last two decades of her life.
Miller has made extensive use of every major archive of letters
and documents by and about Foote. She sheds light on Foote's
numerous stories, essays, and novels. And examines all pertinent
sources on Foote's life and works.
Anyone interested in the American West, women's history, or life
histories in general will find Miller's biography of Mary Hallock
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