Friday, October 1, 2010

Nineteenth Century Heroines: Impressive Even Today

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I have an ongoing series, inspired by your suggestions (cough, cough QNPoohBear), on real-life heroines from the nineteenth century. Today I’d like to take you across the pond from our beloved England to nineteenth century America. You see, while Marissa was watching stalwart Minute Men clash with Red Coats on the East Coast, I was watching Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery reach the Columbia River on the West Coast. I live near Sacajawea State Park, which every September hosts Heritage Days, taking us back to the nineteenth century in what would become the Oregon Territory.

Here’s Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped on the Columbia River, almost exactly where they camped in 1803.

Nearby was a village of blanket traders, mountain men, and Native Americans who had traveled to the area for the occasion.

One of them was even selling fashionable gear (hey, I can’t resist the fashion!).

But the highlight of my visit was getting to meet a true nineteenth century heroine. For privacy purposes, I will call her Miss L. This is her in front of her traveling home. She was part of Heritage Days with her family. What makes her a Nineteenteen nineteenth century heroine?

For one thing, her aptitude. She made the dress and moccasins she’s wearing as well as her buddy “Killer,” the staff she’s holding (I know a few teens who would kill for that staff). She did all her own beading. She throws knives and axes in competition, and I hear she’s pretty good. She’s learning to shoot the bow and arrow (not the fancy kind, but real wood and fletched arrows, authentic to the time period). She’s a photographer too and earned first, second, third, and fourth places at our local county fair. Are you impressed yet?

Another reason Miss L is a true heroine is her altruism. I’m sure there were lots of things she could be doing on a sunny weekend in September, but she was out with her family in the park, explaining to other kids how a nineteenth century teen lived in the American wilderness. Over 2,000 children and chaperones came through on Friday alone, before I took this picture.

Finally, there’s her attitude. She’d had a long day of being on stage, but she was totally cool with having me take her picture after I babbled like a fan girl over her accomplishments. She didn’t laugh at my disposable camera (even after she showed me one of hers with a lens as long as my arm). I think I’d like to be her before I grow up.

However, I do have one more nineteenth century heroine I need to mention. Our dear Marissa did it again: Betraying Season won the Aspen Gold Award for best Young Adult Novel of 2009! I truly appreciate how she keeps winning on Thursdays so I get to crow about it on Fridays. Don’t forget: you can comment on her post from September 28 or mine today to win a chance at a paperback copy of this award-winning novel.

And Miss L, thank you for letting me write about you. If you comment or e-mail me, I would be delighted to send you a Nineteenteen fan, considering that I am quite a fan of yours.


QNPoohBear said...

Wow Miss L. is pretty impressive! Thanks for blogging about her and other real-life heroines. If it weren't for this blog, I would have have heard of Ada Lovelace or be coveting a super cool t-shirt with her image (from

Congrats Marissa on your award!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Work Marissa- must try and get a copy.
Wow what to inspire to Miss L- I could only dream to be as dedicated as you :)

Would like to thank both you Ladies for this blog, It is wonderful to come home from school and see a new update :)

ShanaGalen said...

Congrats on the award! And I'm super impressed with your real-life heroine. I can barely sew on a button!

Rachel said...

Congrats to Miss L. That is an amazing accomplishment with her dedication to American history, not to mention for photography.

Marissa is on a roll! Great job ;)

Regina Scott said...

I'm glad you all are as impressed with Miss L as I was.

Sorry we made you covetous, QNPoohBear, but is it a cool t-shirt!

So glad we are a good part of your day, Ettie!

Shana--I know! I actually have a good sewing machine, but it's been gathering dust for a while. So has the yards of fuscia satin and pattern I have for a Regency gown. Some day!

I'll let Marissa accept her accolades humbly (she does that so well!). She may be out playing on the waves, though. I know I would be if I lived near the ocean!

Marissa Doyle said...

No, she's been buried in revisions on the next book since nine this morning and has just come up for air at 7:45 pm. But thank you for your good wishes, my friends!

ChaChaneen said...

Lurve this post!!! How fun is all that - I want to be there and make a memory!! Miss L is lovely too and her outfit is WOW!