From the Jacket:
The harsh and limitless terrain of the American Southwest was frequently described as “no place for a lady,” but it was to become a place where “ladies” thrived and created new identities for themselves as students and interpreters of the region's past and present Native American cultures. Women seeking freedom from their stays and from the drawing-room domesticity of Boston and New York found in the Southwest not only topographical and psychological space, but an otherness that intrigued and nurtured. By giving voice, visibility, and respect to disenfranchised Native Americans, hundreds of women made new lives for themselves. As scientists, humanists, romanticists, and activists, they were to significantly shape anthropological understandings, public conceptions, and government policies regarding the Native American Southwest.
Daughters of the Desert and the exhibit on which it is based are part of an ongoing multifaceted project designed to generate a comprehensive assessment and revision of the role that women anthropologists and scholars, as well as artists, philanthropists, and activists have played in understanding and interpreting the Native American culture of the Southwest during the last century. This lavishly illustrated catalogue presents forty-five of these women and their work, concentrating on those women who began their careers before 1940 and who have worked primarily with the indigenous cultures of Arizona and New Mexico.
Because Daughters of the Desert includes material both on academic women such as Ruth Benedict, Gladys Reichard, and Florence Hawley Ellis, and on non-academics, among them such artists and photographers as Franc Newcomb, Laura Gilpin, and Pablita Velarde, it should appeal to the professional anthropologist and the general reader alike.