Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives of Alaskan Women, 1880-1960

Crossing Gender Boundaries

Women’s work, men’s work. At various times and places in history, the line between the two has been strong and clear. At other times and in other places, the line is less strong or even non-existent. Many of the women pictured in this section were doing work that—at the time—might have been seen to be crossing over the line between gender roles. But were they really? And did they see themselves as defying societal expectations regarding their behavior? No doubt they were just doing what had to be done at the time, whether to support themselves or their families or simply because they enjoyed it.

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Fire Lake, spring 1943. Martha Stowell unloads lumber off a trailer. The USO had bought a cabin on the lake and volunteers were fixing it up.
[Peter R. and Beulah Marrs Parisi papers, HMC-0445]

Fort Yukon vicinity, Yukon River, 1923. The photographer who took this image of an unidentified woman hunter titled it admiringly: “SOUL MATES!”.
[Wilson W. Brine papers, HMC-0074]

Porcupine, ca. 1899-1907. Dr. Fraser of Pleasant Camp, BC and Irene Lindsay, proprietor, relax in the parlor of the Lindsay Hotel.
[Photograph made available by the family of Winella and James A. Vibbert, Sally Irene Lindsay photographs, HMC-0163]

Crossing Gender Boundaries:  

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All photographs taken from the holdings of the
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Crossing Gender Boundaries :: Ordinary and Extraordinary Lives of Alaskan Women, 1880-1960

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