Mobility and Gender on the Overland Trail

Experiences of mobility on the 19th-century Overland Trail

My research examines Overland Trail diaries from 1851-1853 in order to evaluate issues of personal mobility and gender on the trail. Despite its conflation with the ideal of western mobility, I argue that personal movement along and off of the Overland Trail was instead marked by rigidity and restraint. These restrictions culminated in the trail experience of female emigrants, whose movements were restricted as a way of reifying traditional gender hierarchies.