Woman of the Plains
The Journals and Stories of Nellie M. Perry
Women's Studies - Texas History
6.125 x 9.25, 224 pp.
4 b&w photos., 7 line drawings. Appendix. Index.
Pub Date: 03/02/2015
Price:        $18.95


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Woman of the Plains

The Journals and Stories of Nellie M. Perry

By Sandra Gail Teichmann

The art of writing can re-create historical times and places in ways that breathe life back into them. From her first journal entry in 1888 to her last in 1925, Nellie M. Perry provided a unique glimpse into life on the Texas frontier.Miss Nellie, as she was known, first visited her brother, George Morgan Perry, in the Panhandle in 1888 and eventually came to live in Ochiltree County in 1916. During those years and afterward, she kept journals of her life in the Panhandle. During that time she also wrote stories and essays about the people and things she encountered in that new, wild region.For Miss Nellie her journals and pen were a tool, a way to share a story with another person and pass on her heritage for future understanding. Perhaps, though, the journals were foremost a means for Miss Nellie to maintain an illusion of control in the lonesome life on the High Plains, for her journal writings are devoid of self-reflection, moments of abandon, and digressions that might expose herself to risk and uncertainty. It is not surprising that she ultimately wrote short stories, a medium in which she could freely explore character, identity, dreams, reality, temperament, and situations within the safety of fiction.In Woman of the Plains, Sandra Gail Teichmann presents Miss Nellie’s never-before-published accounts. In all cases, Miss Nellie loved to travel, and her interest in a world even wider than the distant horizons of the Panhandle creates a unique angle from which to view the High Plains people.

Sandra Gail Teichmann, retired professor of English, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas, presently resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Perry polished her accounts for an intended audience, but her keen descriptions of the landscape, weather conditions, bonds between neighbors, frontier hospitality and much more compensate for a loss of intimate reflection. Editor Teichmann has done a fine job in making these glimpses of Texas frontier life available to the public.”--Booktalk

“Teichmann’s collection thus grants readers access to a loose chronicle of a ranching community, from its sod houses to the formation of its first school board, on which Perry served as the only woman member.”--Great Plains Quarterly

“. . . readable and interesting; Teichmann supplements Perry’s account with excerpts from the writings of her neighbors and relatives in Ochiltree County, lending multi-dimensionality to the narrative of homesteading life. . . . natural gift for the American idiom. . . . This book is highly recommended for the historian and general reader alike.”--Journal of the West

“Her descriptive language creates a sense of place that enhances our perception of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century settler’s life. Teichmann appropriately and respectfully presents these writings ‘for what they are’ without literary or historical criticism. These journals stand on their own merit and provide important insights from a woman’s perspective into the lives and ideas of early Texas Panhandle settlers.”--Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“The publication of Nellie Perry’s compositions is the culmination of an extensive archival research project by Teichmann, whose efforts to preserve this pioneer woman’s perspective of Panhandle Plains life at the turn of the century both enlarges and enriches the Texas historical record.”--The Texas Writer’s Newsletter

“A journal keeper who turned every entry into a good story. . . equally informative and interesting. Not only does Louisa Teas describe pioneer social life in careful detail, but she records her own survival as a resourceful and brave woman, who took care of two young sons on an isolated homestead after her ill husband goes back East to die. . . valuable addition to the records of early life in the Panhandle. Woman of the Plains provides yet another chapter of Panhandle history from the unique perspective of women who share their experiences in lively prose.”--Plains Historical Review

“Perry’s accounts are direct and to the point and, I believe, are invaluable as insights into a time and place and group of people who were, in and of themselves, unique in their purpose and vision. This is an important discovery. . . a significant achievement and contribution to both the scholarship and the body of belles letters of Texas and the Southwest.”--Clay Reynolds, Associate professor, University of Texas at Dallas

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