Women Lighthouse Keepers of Lake Michigan

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This book focuses on the fascinating careers of the women who tended lighthouses on Lake Michigan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It explores with great acuity how a number of special women gained their lighthouse positions and dealt with unique challenges of their time and place.


“… a case study of a period facing epochal social change. [The author has] the ability to connect the fascinating story of female lighthouse keepers to the larger lineaments of American social history.” – Prof. Mark R. Polelle, University of Findlay

“[The author]’s research shows us both what these uncommon women shared with other women of their times and how their determination and experiences turned them into remarkable characters.” – Prof. M.J. Heisey, State University of New York at Potsdam

"Female lighthouse keepers were an uncommon sight in the field of lighthouse keeping, but they weren't unheard of. In 1883, 'when Mary Terry became the keeper of Sand Point Lighthouse [in Escanaba], she was one of only a handful of women to hold such a position officially.' Author Kathy Mason details challenges faced by Terry and the other women who have overseen the lights along Lake Michigan. She also examines how female involvement in lighthouses is a prime example of social that was sweeping the country at the time." -- Chronicle Magazine

Table of Contents


Chapter I: Introduction: Leading Lonely Lives

Chapter II: Careful in the Discharge of Her Duties

Chapter III: A Devotion to Duty

Chapter IV: Long and Faithful Service

Chapter V: A Tenuous Position

Chapter VI: Conclusion: Dimming the Lights



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