The Audacity of the Ridiculously Wealthy

Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals, I have finally completed my first ever Interpretation Program!! It was on the basic overview of the Klondike Gold Rush, delivered to the many visitors coming from the cruise ships. Because of the time and low volume of ships, I did only end up having 6 people but it was still a very interesting experience. At the end of the talk, I had the chance to answer a visitor’s question on women during the gold rush. They wanted to know if any of them had come up, and if any were noteworthy.

So now, I get to talk all over again about one of my favorite stories of the Klondike Gold Rush: the story of two ridiculously wealthy women that thought the gold rush was a marvelous trip.

Mary Hitchcock and Edith van Buren were women of high society. Edith was the niece of President Martin van Buren, and Mary Hitchcock came from a wealthy family. When news of the discovery of gold broke in the lower 48, they both caught gold fever and decided that they HAVE to try their hand. Despite the fact that women were looked down upon for having their own adventures, they decided to trudge on, but not like all the other stampeders.

Oh, no. These women decided they were going in style. They brought up two canaries, a parrot, two dozen pigeons, air mattresses, gramophones, and, my personal favorites, a portable bowling alley, a motion picture device and a 40×70 foot tent.

They took a steamer all around Alaska and down the Yukon river to Dawson City, the route of which was known as the Rich Man’s route. Mary Hitchcock turned her diary entries into a book, “Two Women in the Klondike”, which is honestly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read in my life.

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