Giving our mothers and grandmothers their due is more than satisfying.
Back in 1994 I had it on my schedule to do one of my timeline books on “The Wild Women of The Wild West.” I wrote a lengthy timeline and gathered a whole bunch of images for the project but then life got in the way, we bought a magazine, and two decades slipped by. When I finally got back to the concept, I realized two things: the title had been poached to the point of oblivion, and I really needed to team up with someone who has the chops to make it a true look at female history in the West, and someone who is actually a female. There was only one person who fit that bill, and here we are with the book that has been in the works for 28 years.
Jana Bommersbach and I go back. In 1978, we shared an office on the second floor of the San Carlos Hotel where a motley crew of feisty journalists—and one cartoonist—worked at New Times Weekly. Billed as an alternative weekly, the paper catered to the hipster-oriented counterculture then in full bloom. We had some fun, and we won some prizes (Jana is one of the most awarded journalists in Arizona history).
The women’s book project was not easy. Originally scheduled for 2021, it got put on hold because of pandemic issues, and then printing and paper shortage issues threatened to kill the book entirely. With a narrowing window this past summer, and with the herculean efforts of Stuart Rosebrook, Robert Ray, Dan Harshberger and Beth Deveny, we managed to deliver the book and the October issue of the magazine to the printer on the same day, with minutes to spare.
-Bob Boze Bell