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Women Homesteaders

Women Homesteaders


"Women homesteaders in front of their sod house"

The Homestead Act of 1862 opened South Dakota to Americans, explicitly allowing women to own their own land. This opportunity was hard to pass up for some women, they packed up everything they could and moved to the Great Plains to try to “prove up,” their land.



Land of the Burnt Thigh

An autobiography by Edith Kohl, where she described her life on her homestead near the Lower Brule reservation.

“Proving Up: The Memoir of “Girl Homesteader” Martha Stoeker Norby,” South Dakota History 16 no. 1*

Physical copy of this Journal available at the Agricultural Heritage Museum in Brookings

SD Agricultural Heritage Museum Exhibit - FarmHer *

Exhibit is open until February 2020.

"U.S. Prairie and Plains Women in the 1920s," Agriculture History 73 no. 2 

This article compared women's lives in the 1920s, one woman was from South Dakota while the other was from Iowa. 

Land in Her Own Name 

This book, by H. Elaine Lindgren, gives a well-rounded view of life for women on the frontier 

South Dakota Art Museum Exhibit - Harvey Dunn*

Opening Fall 2019

Image Citation:

Solomon D. Butcher, “Chrisman Sisters,” (1886).