Stories of early California through the eyes of women

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In Testimonios: Early California Through the Eyes of Women, authors Rose Marie Beebe and Robert Senkewicz transcribed, translated and edited 13 firsthand accounts from women growing up in the early 1800s, when California was still part of Spain and Mexico.

“Men represent history so they wanted to interview the men about political events,” said Beebe of the attitudes of the original interviewers sent out by Hubert Howe Bancroft in the late 1900s for his seven-volume history of California. “And the women’s interviews were an afterthought when the interviewers could not interview a gentleman for any reason.”

One of the stories follows a Mexican orphan who found her way to Santa Barbara and became one of the first female landowners in California.




Carolina Starin