Books That Inspire 2008

Baby Doe Tabor: The Madwoman in the Cabin
Judy Nolte Temple

“Little & big shining sparkling stars shining down on us,” wrote Lizzie Tabor in 1920. Known as “Baby Doe” Tabor, Lizzie lived a life of drama. For nearly 125 years media and cultural legend has portrayed her as a seductive, gold-digging adulteress who spent the last three decades of her life in abject poverty. Stories and photographs of Lizzie’s later life show a crone in rags, bearing a crucifix – a madwoman, found in 1935 frozen to death in her isolated cabin, surrounded by piles of writing. Historian Judy Nolte Temple mines the fragments of Lizzie’s diaries to form a complex depiction of a frontier woman autonomous and courageous. Lizzie emerges today, not as a wanton or a madwoman, but a devoted mother and mystic. I am inspired by Lizzie’s authentic voice, speaking finally on her own behalf.

Tara M. McDaniel
Staff Assistant II
Western History Collections