Author Dorothy Wickenden, Executive Editor of The New Yorker, to Visit Smith Thursday, March 1, 4:30 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

nothingdauntedNearly 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.

Wickenden’s two 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 there.

Read a Q & A with Wickenden in the Smith Alumnae Quarterly.