There are few stories of entrepreneurial, business class women in nineteenth century BC. They didn’t keep diaries or save letters like the ruling class women often did, and they were usually overlooked in newspaper reports. Yet many came into British Columbia in the early years of the gold rush and helped build and sustain the developing communities. This book tells the stories of three sisters—Laura, Christine, and Caroline Lindhard—who arrived in BC from Denmark in the 1870s. Coming of age in Europe, the Lindhard sisters had aspirations that were restricted by societal norms about what women could and should be and do.
This is a story of how each of the sisters made a life for themselves: marrying and having children, becoming single parents at an early age, marrying again or not, working together, providing for their children, and making choices that set them on different paths. While their lives diverged at various points, their commitments to each other and the next generation remained strong.
The sisters’ stories illustrate the importance of family and community relationships as support structures for women entrepreneurs who combine family responsibilities with earning a living. While they were not heroic in the traditional, patriarchal sense of the word, the Lindhard sisters were powerful, influential members of their families and their community, and their lives reveal much about the complex social fabric of early British Columbia and the unsung contributions of women.