In the 1860s, Helen Lossing tied up her skirts out of the mud to follow her husband to Lake Tear of the Clouds. A century later, Anne LaBastille wore men’s clothes and wielded a chainsaw to build herself a cabin. As women came to the Adirondacks through the years in between, they found a place in which the natural environment dominated one’s life and thought. Here they found the freedom to experiment with changing interpretations of their nature, with relationships to men, and with dress. Not all women felt at home in the woods, while others gave up city life altogether. The vast majority were somewhere in the middle. They picked and chose, learning skills and ways of thinking that influenced the rest of their lives. This study examines the experiences of female visitors to the Adirondacks and sets these women’s experiences against the struggle for women’s rights and the development of feminism. The history of women in America between the mid nineteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries is rightly filled with accounts of the struggle for legal and political rights – to the ballot, to employment, to control of their property and their children. The stage is usually urban, and the actors are commonly women who wrote or spoke their pieces to crowds.



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