From “romping through Smith” to the ultimate adventure in the wilds of the West: a huge crowd came out to Russell House last Wednesday night to hear visiting author Dorothy Wickenden’s talk about her first book, which recounts the exploits of her grandmother in the early 20th century.
Wickenden, who is the executive editor of the New Yorker, first began looking into her grandmother’s stories for a lengthy New Yorker article. Realizing just how much material she had to work with, she then set to work writing Nothing Daunted, her first book.
Described as an “alternative Western,” the book tells the story of how Wickenden’s grandmother, Dorothy, and Dorothy’s best friend Rosamond left behind their elite New York society lives to teach school, for a year, in the barely settled frontier of Colorado. Drawing from letters, oral history recordings, tons of archival research, and photographs, Wickenden was able to put together a fascinating saga. Those who came out got to hear a large portion of the story, which was accompanied by a slideshow, and, based on the eager questions raised after Wickenden’s talk, most will be reading the book as soon as possible to find out what happened next.