Great Women of Mackinac, 1800–1950 tells the dramatic history of thirteen women leaders on Mackinac Island in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their linked visions of family and community define this beautiful island in the western Great Lakes. In this collective biography, author and Mackinac Island resident Melissa Croghan reveals how central they were to the history and literature of Mackinac. Elizabeth Bertrand Mitchell, Madeline Marcot LaFramboise, Therese Marcot Schindler, Elizabeth Therese Baird, Agatha Biddle, and Jane Johnston Schoolcraft were Anishinaabe fur traders, farmers, memoirists, and poets who established the nineteenth-century island community. Among the women of Mackinac, there were also those who sang the island’s praises and recorded the lively relationships of the English, French, and American inhabitants. These writers included Juliette Magill Kinzie, Anna Brownell Jameson, Margaret Fuller, and Constance Fenimore Woolson. There were also community builders who founded key institutions and midwifed generations of island children: Rosa Truscott Webb, Daisy Peck Blodgett, and Stella King. Readers interested in American literature, women’s lives, and Mackinac Island’s storied history will find this book a fascinating read.
Melissa Croghan's Great Women of Mackinac is an outstanding contribution to regional history and to the history of the nation. Comprehensive in scope and meticulously researched, the book draws together Indigenous and settler women, along with a number of astute female travelers, in an account that fundamentally alters our sense of American literature's beginnings.
-Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
Melissa Croghan brings to life the struggles and successes of pathfinders of the Great Lakes. Through compelling writing and diverse research, the lives of women who have for too long been subjected to the background are now enlighteningly brought to the forefront of Mackinac history and culture.
-Bethany Fleming, principal, Fleming Museum Consulting, and author of "Mediating Mackinac: Métis Women's Cultural Persistence in the Upper Great Lakes" in Gender, Race and Religion in the Colonization of the Americas
Strong and intelligent women from a variety of ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds helped shape and record the unique and fascinating history of Mackinac Island. In Great Women of Mackinac, Melissa Croghan has carefully gathered and presented the stories of thirteen of these remarkable women and skillfully placed them within the broader context of Mackinac's evolving history.
-Phil Porter, author of Mackinac: An Island Famous in These Regions
In Great Women of Mackinac, Melissa Croghan explores, with wit and graceful erudition, the mostly forgotten lives of this fascinating group of women, white and Native American. How they wrote, lived, and worked makes for enlightening and compelling reading.
-Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field