1850 Woman and Men in California Gold Rush

Gold Rush Booklist

Adult Winter Reading ProgramOn the Winter Reading Program Cartridge

Utah gold mining history

Shaffer, Stephen B.
Out of the dust: Utah’s lost mines and hidden treasures.
8 hours, 25 minutes

Stories of lost gold and silver mines carved out of the earth by Spaniards and Mexicans. Other stories tell of modern miners and their quest for hidden wealth in the hundreds of mountains and valleys of the West.

Wyoming gold mining history

Chisholm, James.
South Pass, 1868: James Chisholm’s journal of the Wyoming gold rush.
6 hours, 14 minutes

James Chisholm was a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune sent to report on the gold strike made in the late 1860s at one of the great historical features of the continent–South Pass on the western trails. His journal is a graceful, observant narrative full of the real essence of frontier mining camp life.

Alaska gold mining history

Kirchhoff, M.J.
Jack Dalton: The Alaska pathfinder.
5 hours, 45 minutes

Dalton was known throughout the Northland for his courage and the fortunes he made in frontier trading and mining. To many Alaskans, Dalton was the master of the trail, superbly skilled in all things involving the outdoors. A few, however, saw Dalton in a different light. To them, Dalton was a murderous scoundrel who would do anything to get his way.

Klondike gold rush (Canada)

Berton, Pierre.
Klondike fever: The life and death of the last great gold rush.
17 hours, 8 minutes

This thrilling story of the Klondike Gold Rush is at once first-rate history and first-rate entertainment. The full story has never been told before, nor has it been told in this dramatic way.


L’Amour, Louis.
The Empty Land.
5 hours, 29 minutes

Gold is discovered in the Utah hills and a boom town soon grows up around the strike. As miners and shopkeepers move in, violence and murder become a way of life until loner Matt Coburn comes in to clean the town up.

Hobbs, Will.
Jason’s Gold.
5 hours, 40 minutes

When fifteen-year-old wanderer Jason Hawthorn decides to join the Klondike gold rush, he learns that his older brothers beat him to it. Jason spends a difficult year trying to find them, befriending writer Jack London and others along the way. Some violence. For junior and senior high and older readers.

Supplemental Reading

Gold Rush history

Marks, Paula Mitchell.
Precious dust: The saga of the Western gold rushes.
15 hours, 55 minutes

From the outbreak of gold fever in California in 1848 to the mad rush to Alaska at the nineteenth century’s close, this is the aspiring miner’s story. Historian Paula Mitchell Marks focuses on what propelled Americans and foreigners to the gold fields, how they endured the journey and the search, what kept them going or separated them from their dreams, and what sense they made of the whole experience. She also explains how the rushes hastened the development of the western regions and served as a “safety valve” for restless dreamers who wanted to reassert their individuality (both personal and economic). Strong language.

Alaska gold mining history

O’Donnell, Nicole Stellon.
Steam laundry: Poems.
2 hours, 2 minutes

This novel in poems is based on the true story of Sarah Ellen Gibson, the sixth woman to arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska, in the gold rush of 1903.

Vanasse, Deb.
Wealth woman : Kate Carmack and the Klondike race for gold.

With the first headlines screaming ‘Gold! Gold! Gold!’ in 1896, the Klondike Gold Rush was on–and it almost instantly became the stuff of legend. One of the key figures in the early discoveries that set off the gold rush was the Tagish wife of prospector George Carmack, Kate Carmack.

Utah gold mining history

Boren, Kerry Ross.
Utah gold rush: the lost Rhoades mine and the Hathenbruck legacy.
8 hours, 23 minutes

This book explores the history of the lost Rhoades Mine and narrows the scope of its location to a few square miles in the Uinta Mountains east of Kamas, Utah.  The mine is reputedly the source of Aztec gold, and could be the Mother Lode of all gold deposits. The emphasis is on the efforts of F.W.C. Hathenbruck and Caleb Rhoades to use mining proceeds to pay off the national debt, if the government reduced the size of the Ute Reservation to allow mining.

Madsen, Brigham D.
Gold Rush sojourners in Great Salt Lake City, 1849 and 1850.
5 hours, 23 minutes

This 1983 history, which relies heavily on Mormon diaries and emigrant journals, examines the interaction of the gold rush pilgrims with the Mormons. The book examines the mutually advantageous economic relationships and the social intermingling between the two groups.

California 49ers


Holliday, J. S.
The world rushed in: The California gold rush experience.
18 hours, 16 minutes

With three companions, all from Youngstown, N.Y., William Swain set out in April 1849 by lake steamer from Buffalo and joined an emigrant train, the “Wolervine Rangers.” They were on their way to seek their fortune in the gold rush in California. Based on newspaper accounts and letters from William’s diaries.

Bagley, Will.
Scoundrel’s tale: the Samuel Brannan papers.
22 hours, 36 minutes

This book is an honest and accurate portrait of one of the most colorful and important figures in California and Mormon history.  An early convert and a protégé of Joseph Smith, Brannan led LDS Church members to the San Francisco area aboard the ship, Brooklyn, in 1846.  There he pursued his own interests, and became the Church’s “most notorious apostate.”  He played a key role in the gold rush of 1848 and became rich supplying the miners.