March 2016 Event - Meet the Women of the Gold Rush

Thursday, Mar 17, 2016

Are diamonds really a girl's best friend?'s GOLD. Please join us on Thursday, March 17th, to hear some fascinating stories about History's Lost Voices - the Women of the California Gold Rush. After 1848, when gold was discovered in California, dreams of adventure and instant wealth made westward movement the all-consuming passion of the nation. "Go West Young Man" became the catch phrase of the era, but joining these young men was a hardy collection of women. Prostitutes and preacher's wives, escaped slaves and society women, reformers, teachers, saloon keepers, cross dressers, criminals...the women of the Gold Rush helped shape the region and the nation. Yet their stories have been largely forgotten. Who were Luzena Wilson, Mary Ellen Pleasant, Eliza Farnham, and Lola Montez? During her engaging talk Mary Volmer will explore how the interplay of fiction and history allows for the compassionate re-imagining some of California's most famous (and infamous) female residents. If you have not already done so, please RSVP to hold a space. There is no charge to attend and light refreshments will be served.

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Meet the Speaker

Mary Ellen Volmer is the author of two novels: Crown of Dust and Reliance, Illinois. She earned an MFA at Saint Mary's College (CA) and a masters' degree from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Hedgebrook. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in magazines and journals such as the Farallon Review, Mutha Magazine and Women's Basketball Magazine, and have been featured on Stories on Stage (Sacramento). She teaches at Saint Mary's College. Read more about Mary and her work at crown_of_dust Crown of Dust,the debut novel by Mary Volmer, founding director of the SMC Honors Program, was reviewed as part of a five-book "Fiction Chronicle" in the New York Times Book Review. The novel is a gender-bending story of friendship, love and redemption set in the Wild West during the gold rush.   relianceDue out in May of this Year, Reliance, Illinois "has it all - mystery, politics, war; love, death, and art. In finely wrought sentences, Volmer's novel follows such a lively cast of characters, first and foremost her marvelous protagonist Madelyn. Every page is a pleasure". - Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves