Book – Women on a Lighthouse? You Bet!

Book – Women on a Lighthouse? You Bet!

In the early days women were not listed as lighthouse personnel, even though they often did the work of a second man. A lady in the US has written a book about the “Ladies of the Lights” on the Great Lakes. The following quote from the Great Lakes Echo will explain more:

However, the people who operated the lighthouses, often in bleak and isolated conditions, are less known – especially the 52 women who served as keepers and assistant keepers for more than a century on lakes Michigan, Superior and Huron and the Detroit River.

That absence from public attention isn’t surprising, according to Terry Pepper, executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in Mackinaw City.

That’s partly because the U.S. Lighthouse Service strictly regulated what keepers could record in their daily journals to official happenings, such as the weather, events of “earth-shattering importance” and visits by federal boats. Entries about family and personal matters were forbidden, he said.

“Until the Coast Guard took over in 1939, the agencies responsible pretty much considered keepers a necessary evil,” Pepper said. “All that mattered was the light. They built the structures using the technology they had, and the keepers were sort of an afterthought.”

Those keepers led “a rugged life filled with long hours and hard work punctuated by periods of real peril,” Patricia Majher writes in her new book, “Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service” (University of Michigan Press, $22.95).


More on the story here.

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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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