Girl from the Gulches Finalist Award Winner in the 2004 WILLA Awards
Ellen Baumler's Girl From the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, published by the Montana Historical Society Press in 2003, has been selected as a Finalist Award Winner in the 2004 WILLA Literary Awards in the Memoir/Essay category. Awarded annually for outstanding literature featuring women's stories set in the West, the WILLA Literary Awards are chosen by a distinguished panel of twenty-one professional librarians.
A covered wagon on a dim road, the promise of a long journey, and the wonder of what lay ahead filled the shadowy spaces of Mary Sheehan Ronan's earliest memories. By the time she was a married woman in her twenties, she was a well-seasoned pioneer, having crossed most of the country and retraced her steps back across a third of it. Ronan tells her story in this highly readable, entertaining account of one woman's life in the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. This detailed memoir recalls a girl's growing up on the Montana mining frontier, her ascent to young womanhood on a farm in southern California, her experiences as a student in a Los Angeles convent school, her return to Montana as a bride, and her life on the Flathead Indian Reservation as wife of the Indian agent. The exhilaration of a forbidden sled ride, the creaking of the hangman's rope, her father giving the last of their water to his dying mule-these things Ronan remembers with vivid clarity. A highly readable, entertaining account, Girl from the Gulches's unique perspective is a joy to read.
The WILLA Literary Award is a nationally recognized award given to writers annually for books featuring women's stories set in the West. Women Writing the West, a non-profit association of writers and other professionals writing and promoting the Women's West, underwrites and presents the award.