Women of the Klondike

Dancers, actresses, prospectors, saloon owners, prostitutes and wives — there was no such thing as a conventional woman in the Klondike.

Written by Tanja Hütter

November 22, 2010

Life was harsh in the Yukon during the gold rush, and men went without the basic necessities. Food options were minimal and favourite meals took the place of sex in their fantasies.

And yet, there was still room for gaiety and distractions of the fairest kind. Women left their mark on Dawson City, delivering a respite from the hardships of moiling for gold.

We've showcased below a collection of images of well-known dance hall girls from the hey day of the Klondike, as well as the women who worked in the gold fields.

The images are all courtesy of Alaska’s Digital Archives. To see more of the characters who illustrate this rough-and-tumble time in the Yukon, visit Alaska’s Digital Archives, a collaboration of multiple institutions.

Learn more about Belinda Mulrooney, the Irish-American spitfire/business woman, who appeared in Charlotte Gray’s article “After the Gold Rush,” in the December 2010-January 2011 issue of Canada’s History.

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