Author Linda Wommack Honors The Women Of Colorado Mining History

Award-winning author Linda Wommack is a Colorado native, who’s passionate about exploring all facets of the role women played in shaping Colorado history. With her new Farcountry Press book, Women of the Colorado Mines, she honors the mighty women whose grit and determination left a lasting mark on the state’s mining history. Colorado Culture Magazine spoke with Wommack about her new book and inspiration for sharing the tales of these remarkable women.
Book cover for "Women of the Colorado Mines" by Linda Wommack

Tell our readers about yourself.

I am a Colorado native living in Littleton. This is my 20th book and I am very excited about it. I was recently inducted into the Colorado Author’s Hall of Fame and am a member of Women Writing the West, Wild West History Association, and Western Writers of America. I am a staff writer for Wild West magazine and a contributing editor for True West magazine. I have won six national awards.
How did you become interested in Colorado’s mining history and the role women played?

My first Colorado history story was from my parents. My mother had researched the family history for over twenty years. Bob Womack, my great-great uncle, discovered gold in Cripple Creek. My great-great-great grandfather added an “M” to the surname when he filed on a homestead in Green County, Missouri.

 

Throughout my research on any subject, I am always struck by the lack of in-depth research on women and thereby the books and articles on women. Over the past few years I have focused strictly on women.

How did you conduct your research for the book?

I spent many hours in local libraries, museums, and talking to locals in the mining districts around the state. Then I put that together with what I had in my research files over the years. I also wanted to flush out the stories of lesser known women in mining.

What was it like reading the women’s personal accounts through their diaries and letters?

It was thrilling to read their accounts. I completely emersed myself in their stories. Most of the diaries are in libraries. Some are online. Others are in museums.

Were there particular women whose stories you found most inspiring to write about?

Baby Doe Tabor is often thought of as a gold digger. That could not be further from the truth. In Central City, it was she, not her husband, who did the back-breaking work in their 4th of July mine, causing the miners to affectionally name her “Baby Doe.”

 

Conversely, Angeline Louisiana Munn worked her mines so well she eventually bought the great Windsor Hotel in downtown Denver. Later, she returned to mining, this time in Creede. The photos of Angeline were acquired from a friend years ago, long before I had the desire to write about her. That often happens. I will go back to my documents, photos, and research to cull new information.

What message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Women did indeed play a significant role in the history of Colorado. Their stories were often overlooked in finding the bigger story of our pioneer heritage. It is something I am trying to rectify.

Where can readers find your book?

Women of the Colorado Mines is available in softcover at various retailers, as well as online and at Farcountry Press. To learn more about Linda Wommack, visit her website.

(This interview has been edited for clarity.)

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