Crafting the everyday

  • Motherlode: Legacies of Women's Lives and Labors in Butte, Montana

    Janet Finn and Ellen Crain, editors
 

Stridently male: That’s how journalist Joseph Kinsey Howard characterized Butte, once the world’s greatest producer of copper. Not only was hardrock mining physically demanding, it was the most dangerous industrial occupation in America. Small wonder that Butte developed a reputation for being a man’s town or that its official history has always been told from a male perspective.

Now comes a corrective titled Motherlode: Legacies of Women’s Lives and Labors in Butte, Montana. Editors Janet Finn, a professor of social work at the University of Montana, and Ellen Crain, director of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, have assembled oral histories, diary excerpts, sketches and essays, to make visible the Mining City’s most valuable "hidden resource." These are tales of women largely absent from the dominant narratives of Western settlement, which tend to focus on pioneer wives, prostitutes and teachers.

Instead, Motherlode describes the likes of Bridget Shea, the fiery leader of the Women’s Protective Union, the country’s first all-female labor organization, and Dr. Caroline McGill, who, in 1910, became staff pathologist at Murray Hospital and was the only physician in town who supplied birth control information. Motherlode also showcases nuns, artists, civil servants and community activists, as well as the working-class women who held the community together despite the routine loss of fathers and husbands. By the time this chorus of voices falls silent, it’s clear that "crafting the everyday" — Finn’s term for the unrecognized labor of women — was as necessary to the vitality of the Mining City as were drilling and blasting.

Motherlode is a tribute to those labors and heartening evidence that the work of fashioning community identity continues.


Motherlode: Legacies of Women’s Lives and Labors in Butte, Montana

Edited by Janet Finn and Ellen Crain

342 pages, hardcover: $32.

Clark City Press, 200.

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eugene, Ore. nonprofit Long Tom Watershed Council is seeking a highly collaborative individual to lead a talented, dedicated team of professionals. Full-time: $77,000 - $90,000...
  • GIS SPECIALIST
    What We Can Achieve Together: The GIS Specialist provides technical and scientific support for Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, data management, and visualization internally and...
  • LOWER SAN PEDRO PROGRAM MANAGER
    What We Can Achieve Together: The Lower San Pedro Program Manager directs some or all aspects of protection, science, stewardship and community relations for the...
  • FOREST RESTORATION SPATIAL DATA MANAGER
    What We Can Achieve Together: The Forest Restoration Spatial Data Manager fills an integral role in leading the design and development of, as well as...
  • WATER PROJECTS MANAGER, SOUTHERN AZ
    What We Can Achieve Together: Working hybrid in Tucson, AZ or remote from Sierra Vista, AZ or other southern Arizona locations, the Water Projects Manager,...
  • SENIOR STAFF THERAPIST/PSYCHOLOGIST: NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENT SPECIALIST
    Counseling Services is a department strategically integrated with Health Services within the Division of Student Services and Enrollment Management. Our Mission at the Counseling Center...
  • THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IS HIRING A LOCAL INITIATIVES COORDINATOR
    The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming seeks a Local Initiatives Coordinator to join our team. We're looking for a great communicator to develop, manage and advance...
  • LAND AND WATER PROTECTION MANAGER - NORTHERN ARIZONA
    We're Looking for You: Are you looking for a career to help people and nature? Guided by science, TNC creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our...
  • SENIOR CLIMATE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE
    The Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC) seeks a Senior Climate Conservation Associate (SCCA) to play a key role in major campaigns to protect the lands, waters,...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Southern Nevada Conservancy Board of Directors announces an outstanding opportunity for a creative leader to continue building this organization. SNC proudly supports Nevada's public...
  • CORTEZ COLORADO LOT FOR SALE
    Historic tree-lined Montezuma Ave. Zoned Neighborhood Business. Build your dream house or business right in the heart of town. $74,000. Southwest Realty
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • PHILANTHROPY COORDINATOR
    Founded by sportsmen and women in 1936, the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting, conserving, and enhancing Idaho's natural resources,...
  • STRAWBALE HOME BESIDE MONTEZUMA WELL NAT'L MONUMENT
    Straw Bale Home beside Montezuma Well National Monument. Our property looks out at Arizona fabled Mogollon Rim and is a short walk to perennial Beaver...
  • ATTORNEY AD
    Criminal Defense, Code Enforcement, Water Rights, Mental Health Defense, Resentencing.
  • LUNATEC HYDRATION SPRAY BOTTLE
    A must for campers and outdoor enthusiasts. Cools, cleans and hydrates with mist, stream and shower patterns. Hundreds of uses.
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • A CHILDREN'S BOOK FOR THE CLIMATE CRISIS!!
    "Goodnight Fossil Fuels!" is a an engaging, beautiful, factual and somewhat silly picture book by a climate scientist and a climate artist, both based in...
  • THE MAGICAL UNIVERSE OF THE ANCIENTS: A DESERT JOURNAL
    Bears Ears, Chaco Canyon, and other adventures in the Four Corners area. 60 photos and lively journals. Purchase hc $35 or pb $25 from bigwoodbooks.com...