Caughfield, Adrienne 1971–

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Caughfield, Adrienne 1971–


Born March 1, 1971, in Waukegan, IL; daughter of Charles and Barbara Rigsby; married Lance Caughfield, 1993; children: Megan, Erin. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Abilene Christian University, B.A., 1993; Southern Methodist University, M.A., 1999; Texas Christian University, Ph.D., 2002. Politics: "None." Religion: Christian.


Home—Richardson, TX. E-mail—[email protected].


Heritage Farmstead Museum, Plano, TX, director of academic programs, 2004-08.


True Women and Westward Expansion, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 2005.

Contributor to scholarly journals, including Journal of the West, Journal of Southern History, Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Journal of American History, and Red River Valley Historical Journal.


Adrienne Caughfield's first book, True Women and Westward Expansion, explores the role women played in settling Texas during the 1800s. Caughfield explains that rather than simply following their husbands across the plains, these women actively helped bring about Manifest Destiny as part of the cult of domesticity.

The cult of domesticity refers to women—usually educated, white, and northern—who strove to remain virtuous, submissive to their husbands, and to provide a safe, nurturing home for their families. They believed the home was their proper sphere of influence and their moral guidance the rock upon which the success of their family depended.

When it came to settling the West, these women, Caughfield writes, viewed the taming of nature as part of their duty because it was necessary in establishing a successful homestead. Apart from these settlers, other women of the era, notably slaves and servants, also helped establish the West in accordance with their own variations on the cult of domesticity philosophy, Caughfield believes.

Despite sketchy historical documentation of women's true political beliefs and opinions regarding Manifest Destiny, "Caughfield does a credible job of showing that westward expansion and true womanhood were closely aligned both ideologically and in reality," wrote Jean A. Stuntz in the Journal of Southern History.



Journal of American Culture, December, 2005, Ray B. Browne, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 457.

Journal of American History, June, 2006, Paula Mitchell Marks, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 214.

Journal of Southern History, November, 2006, Jean A. Stuntz, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 932.

Journal of the Early Republic, fall, 2006, Kevin M. Brady, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 483.

Pacific Historical Review, August, 2006, Glenda Riley, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 495.

Roundup, August, 2005, Doris R. Meredith, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 21.

Southwestern Historical Quarterly, July, 2006, Francelle Pruitt, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 143.

Western Historical Quarterly, autumn, 2006, Cynthia Culver Prescott, review of True Women and Westward Expansion, p. 389.