Helen Davis Featured Book: Bold Spirit

bold spiritBold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt is the story of an incredible walk by two remarkable women.  Helga Estby and her daughter Clara walked all the way across the country from Spokane, Washington to New York City in 1896.  They did it out of necessity rather than from a sense of adventure.  Helga had heard about an offer of $10,000 to any woman who would do this while wearing a bicycling costume.  The family farm was close to foreclosure because her husband had been injured and could not work.  This was the only way Helga could help her husband.  The story of their journey is very dramatic, but the social background of the time is even more interesting.  Women just didn’t do these things then.  The possibility of giving women the vote was just being discussed and an intense presidential campaign had begun.  Helga and Clara had very strong views that show how strongly women felt about politics even though they could not vote.  The walk had many dangers and difficulties, but the most difficult thing was how the family felt about their effort.  The women’s negative experiences resulted in the family developing a “silence” about their experiences.  The author explores how often families can ignore and bury some extraordinary stories.  It takes a book like this to make us realize just how much women’s roles have expanded in the last hundred years.

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