The True Adventures of Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver
by Tami Charles ill Claire Almon
Mary Fields was a stagecoach driver in Montana during the 1890's. Her story is fascinating.
This former slave defied racial, gender, and age-related prejudice, serving as a mail carrier to Saint Peter's Mission. She successfully took on what was considered "man's work."
Being "first" is hard. Not everyone likes the idea of a woman driving a stagecoach.
Tami Charles weaves together incidents from
Field's life to create a compelling tale: protecting mail from thieves, unleashing her trained eagle on would-be marauders, standing guard overnight to save her cargo from a pack of wolves. Remarkably, during her eight years of mail delivery she never lost a horse or a package.
Claire Almon's bold illustrations give Mary stature and girth. This is not the bearing of a weak or submissive woman. Wearing men's trousers and a hat, she stands boldly before her employer. Her over-sized pet eagle soars across the pages, continuing to present-day mail delivery. This thematic image is symbolic of her influence. Mary's groundbreaking work opened opportunities for other women to drive stagecoaches and deliver mail. She exemplified the qualities of hard work and resourcefulness.
Fearless Mary: The True Adventures of Mary Fields, American Stagecoach Driver inspires all to break barriers and overcome prejudices. Add this picture book to the cannon of children's books featuring significant women of color.
Meet Mary Fields
Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary, is a dynamic individual. While much of her life is unknown, a few documents survive which chronicle her personal history.
Charles limits the book's narrative to Fields’ years as a contract driver. She softens her portrayal of Mary, referring to her rifle as an "iron weapon." It is seen only in shadow on her back.
Photos and biographical information History Stories website.