Land in Her Own Name
by H. Elaine Lindgren

Begin the exhibit | About the author | Order the book

Land is often known by the names of past owners. In North Dakota, "Emma's Land," "Gina's Quarter," and "The Ingeborg Land" are reminders of the many women who homesteaded across the state, most in the early part of the twentieth century. Land in Her Own Name is their fascinating story.

They were Yankees, Scandinavians, and Germans; Black, Jewish and Arab women. They were barely past their teens and women in their 60s. Many lived on their land for life and "never borrowed a cent against it." Others sold their land to start another life or used it as collateral to finance their children's educations.

These were remarkable women. Lucy Goldthorpe survived the 40-below temperatures of 1906 alone in her shack. Ruth Abbott rode her bicycle 100 miles across the prairie to collect money that was owed her. Karen Kittelson Olsen waited six weeks before she could afford a stamp to mail a letter. Eva Popp could "shoot the head off a rattlesnake at 100 feet."

Author Elaine Lindgren searched land records statewide for the names of women who homesteaded. Some were still alive and able to be interviewed. Others had relatives and friends who contributed information requested by the author in newspapers. From the ornate handwriting of letters and diaries, from the many photographs and lively stories of the survivors, a strong picture emerges of the women whose names we remember with the land.

An exhibit was adapted from Elaine's book, Land in Her Own Name, and first displayed during North Dakota's state centennial in 1989, at North Dakota State University. In 1996 Great Plains Software of Fargo, N.D. developed this on-line exhibit, as part of their commitment to promote the "Pioneer Spirit" of this region. They graciously have given the exhibit to the Institute for Regional Studies, the original publisher of Lindgren's book.

Also visit the Fred Hultstrand exhibit that captures the pioneer on the American frontier
Pioneer Camera

Institute for Regional Studies
North Dakota State University Libraries
Fargo, North Dakota, 58105
(701) - 231 - 8914