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Presentation explores stories of women on the Santa Fe Trail
new slt history oliva
Historian Leo E. Oliva

The public is invited to a presentation and discussion on “Women Writers on the Santa Fe Trail” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 25, at the Barton County Historical Society Museum. The presenter will be historian Leo E. Oliva.
The museum is located just south of the Arkansas River bridge on U.S. 281.
This program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. It will take place during a joint meeting of the Quivira Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association and the historical society. Prior to the program, the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter will have a business meeting at 7 p.m.
Some of the first women to travel across present day Kansas were travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The presentation will look at the adventures and reflections of four women who wrote their own stories. One woman traveled with her husband’s wagon train in 1846, while another traveled back and forth five times between the ages of 7 and 17. The most famous woman to be discussed, however, was Julia Archibald Holmes who later became the first women to climb Pike’s Peak in Colorado.
Oliva’s research focus is on 19th-century Kansas. He is the author of “Soldiers on the Santa Fe Trail,” six books for the Kansas Fort Series, and a founding member of the Santa Fe Trail Association and Fort Larned Old Guard.
“Women who traveled the Santa Fe Trail provide a different perspective than men, with more intimate details about the environment, other travelers and their own feelings,” said Oliva. “Each of these four women had a unique experience. Their letters, diaries and memoirs still inform and enchant us today.”
“Women Writers on the Santa Fe Trail” is part of the Kansas Humanities Council’s Kansas Stories Speakers Bureau, featuring presentations and discussions that examine our shared human experience. For more information about KHC programs call 785-357-0359 or visit online at