Story of Two Smith 'Society Girls' in the Wild West
Read a in the Smith Alumnae
Nearly a hundred years ago,
when two Smith graduates—“society girls,” as they would be
called then—arrived at their destination, the wild, mountainous
landscape of a largely unsettled Colorado, the experience
was far outside their realm of reference.
Dorothy Woodruff ’09
and her friend Rosamond Underwood ’09 had grown up in wealthy
families in the thriving, industrialized city of Auburn,
N.Y., and tiny Elkhead, Colo., where they would spend a year
teaching in 1916, was like another planet.
When Dorothy Wickenden,
executive editor of The New Yorker, and Woodruff’s
granddaughter, came upon her grandmother’s letters written
home to Auburn, N.Y., during that year in Colorado, she had
the foundation for an article published in The
New Yorker in 2009. The article was expanded into a
well-received book, Nothing
Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in
the West, published
last year by Scribner.
Wickenden will visit Smith this
week, on Thursday, March 1, to talk about her book. The event,
open to all in the Smith community, will begin at 4:30 p.m.
in the Campus Center Carroll Room. Her visit is sponsored
by the Friends of Smith College Libraries, Smith College
Archives and the Sophia Smith Collection.
protagonists lived among mostly impoverished homesteaders
in Colorado, in one- and two-room log cabins lined with old
newspapers for insulation, enduring winter temperatures well
below zero for weeks on end. The two friends, says Wickenden,
were changed forever, in many positive ways, by their experience
Read a in
the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.