Alderman, B.J. 1948–

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Alderman, B.J. 1948–


Born 1948. Education: Pittsburg State University, B.S., 1970.


Home—Kansas City, MO.


Journalist and writer.


Edward H. Tihen Historical Research Grant, Kansas State Historical Society, 2003, 2007.


The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Chronicle of the Old West, Missouri Life, and American Western magazine.


In her book The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife, author B.J. Alderman provides an historical account of the important role a sheriff's wife played in managing jails throughout the United States from about 1800 until the 1960s. Using letters, diaries, interviews, and local historical accounts, Alderman reveals how these women, who were not paid for their work, helped feed prisoners, took statements and conducted interviews, sewed and repaired jail linens and other items, and served as their husbands' backups. As a result, they often risked their lives and fought with escapees. A Reference & Research Book News contributor noted that these women "sustained the law enforcement system of the US for generations." In fact, the women performed all of their jail-house duties while raising children and keeping a home, which typically included extensive gardening. Reviewers commended the author for revealing the difficult life and heroism of these women. Frances Sandiford, writing in Library Journal, called the tales in The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife "captivating, and sometimes incredible," adding that "history buffs, women's studies, and people who simply want a good read" will appreciate the book.



Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2007, review of The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife.

Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Frances Sandiford, review of The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife, p. 96.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2007, review of The Secret Life of the Lawman's Wife.