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Eva Emery Dye

Romance with the West

Sheri Bartlett Browne

6 × 9 inches. Notes. Bibliography. Index. 192 pages.

2004. ISBN 978-0-87071-008-7. Paperback, $24.95.

Writing in the early years of the 20th century, novelist Eva Emery Dye captured the imagination of American readers with her epic accounts of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail, and the conquest of the American West. Brimming with adventure, drama, and romance, her books helped to shape an entire generation's understanding of American history and Manifest Destiny.

In this first biography of Dye, Sheri Bartlett Browne chronicles the life of one of Oregon's most successful early writers. Drawing on previously unknown letters and diaries, Browne examines Dye's determination to write historical fiction, the history of her involvement in the suffrage movement, and her lifelong promotion of education through the Chautauqua movement.

Dye is best remembered for The Conquest, one of the first fictional works to popularize (and romanticize) the Lewis and Clark Expedition, in which she introduced a new American heroine, Sacagawea. Although the book's portrayal enhanced the young Shoshone's role, it was Dye's later efforts to memorialize her with statues and speeches that turned Sacagawea into an American icon.

Dye's most extensive project was a historical novel recounting the achievements of 19th century American missionaries in Hawaii. Completed in the 1920s but never published, her manuscript promoted a controversial view of American influence in Hawaii. Dye wrote one last book, The Soul of America, which examined the accomplishments and perseverance of pioneer women.

Eva Emery Dye: Romance with the West offers a fascinating look at a figure once prominent in literary and suffrage circles in the Pacific Northwest, and highlights the significance of family and education in women's lives at the turn of the twentieth century.

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