Good Time Girls of the Alaska-Yukon Gold Rush

Epicenter Press, 1998
ISBN 0-945397-76-3

History has long ignored many of the earliest female pioneers of the Far North—the prostitutes and other "disreputable" women who joined the mass pilgrimage to the booming gold camps of Alaska and the Yukon at the turn of the century. Leaving behind their hometowns and most constraints of the post-Victorian era, the "good time girls" crossed both geographic and social frontiers, finding freedom, independence, hardship, heartbreak and sometimes astonishing wealth.

These women possessed the courage and perseverance to brave a dangerous journey of more than a thousand miles into a harsh wilderness where men sometimes outnumbered them more than ten to one. Many of these women later became successful entrepreneurs, wealthy property owners, or the wives of prominent citizens; one former prostitute married the mayor of Fairbanks and hosted a visit from President Warren G. Harding. Their influence changed life in the Far North forever.

Lael Morgan offers an authentic, sympathetic, poignant, and often deliciously humorous account of the women who were extraordinarily independent even by today's standards.


Sixth among 100 best nonfiction books of 1998.
 —The Los Angeles Times

"Good Time Girls is an important and entertaining addition to gold rush literature. These women are as important a part of the Klondike story as Big Alex and Swiftwater Bill. After all, they too were gold diggers."
 —Mike Dunham, Anchorage Daily News

"Engagingly written and generously illustrated, Good Time Girls is for readers who like history with all the lusty and licentious parts left uncensored."
 —Pierre Berton,, author of Klondike

"Morgan puts a premium on biographical information, even when spare anecdotes may be all that remains of her subjects. As a result, some of the book reads like a frustrating cocktail party conversation, where much of the gossip seems third-or fourth-hand. But the reader emerges with a sense of the subtle relationship between these women and their clients, one that stretches far beyond economic transactions."
 —Ted Rose, Brill’s Content


Good Time Girls


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