Tuesday, 10 October 2017 05:35

Nanton rancher’s book on women in beef industry released Oct. 16

Written by  Demi Knight
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Rachel Herbert has made it her mission to shine a light on the history of women and the integral role they played in ranching across Southern Alberta with the release of her new novel Ranching Women in Southern Alberta.


Based on a thesis that Herbert worked on during her master’s degree at the University of Calgary, the novel was composed to bring more awareness to the history of women ranchers within the province and is celebrating its official release at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary on October 16. The official book launch will be held for all the public to attend in the Hugh Dempsy Reading Room at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary on October 16 2-4 p.m. 
When asked about how the idea for both her thesis and the novel came about, Herbert says it was a simple story of events in her life and her heritage that led her to where she is now.
“I came down to my grandparents’ ranch about 15 years ago and came back to my roots, Then I ended up marrying a cowboy, having a family, and started ranching myself when I was going to university.”
“I saw that the ranching culture is really alive in Nanton,” continued Herbert.
“So, once I went back to school and started looking through the books and researching, I realized that I didn’t find much about women so I started looking into that. The reality is that there’s so much information on the subject out there, it just needed to be put together.”
With a rich family history in settler ranching, Herbert knew that getting back to her roots and learning the story of her great grand-parents ranch, which her great grandmother worked to sustain on her own before passing it down the family lineage was a pivotal story in her heritage.
With this in mind and access to all the disjointed information at her fingertips, Herbert got to work and explored the often overlooked world of settler women on family ranches.
“Popular culture has always glorified the wild west through fiction and movie concepts about cowboys. But if you really start to dig in, I believe research shows that a lot of our ranching history is really based on family ranches and how those were sustained was often by women,” says Herbert of the information she found on settler families throughout southern Alberta.
While becoming a rancher herself, working on her own Trail’s End Ranch near Nanton, raising grassfed beef and chasing around her children, Herbert studied her masters throughout the years of 2006 to 2011. The majority of her book came together in her final year.
Since the topic is so relevant with the public and resonates with the history of many throughout the prairie lands of the province, her novel was soon picked up by the academic press at the University of Calgary, where Herbert had been busy studying her master’s and is set to be released this October.
"We read so much that emphasizes the role of frontier ranching women as limited to keeping the home fires burning. It was refreshing for us to receive a manuscript, by a ranching woman about those ranching women who came before her, that revealed how much greater their contribution was - and is - than is normally recognized,” says Director of the University of Calgary Press, Brian Scrivener on their choice to publish Herbert’s work.
“This type of book hasn’t been out there before, there’s lots of work on ranch women, but not a synthesis on women,” added Herbert on her choice to try and publish her work.
“I’ve had lots of support on social media and I’ve done speaking events on this topic and its always so well received! The press announced the release of the novel in July, it’s actually fresh from printers right now and will be launched in October,” says Herbert on a final note of her book release taking place this October.

Read 112 times Last modified on Friday, 06 October 2017 10:39

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