This is the first full-length biography of this mid-twentieth century multi-faceted star. It is the first book to use biography to chart the broad sweep of changes in women’s lives during the twentieth century, and to have popular music, movies, and television shows as its backdrops. The glitter of country music, the glamour of Hollywood, and the grit of the early television industry are all covered. It is the first book to draw from never-before-seen sources (especially business records and fan mail) at the newly-opened Roy Rogers-Dale Evans collections at the Autry Museum of the American West. One of the central tensions of Dale’s life revolved around chasing the elusive work/family balance, making her story instantly relatable to women today, In addition to fame, Dale longed for a happy, stable, family life. Her roles and wife and mother became the foundation for her public persona: the smart, smiling, cheerful cowgirl. Unusual for its time were Dale Evans’s attempts to control the trajectory of her career at a time when men dominated decision-making in the entertainment fields.
Theresa Kaminski is professor of history at University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point and has published four books on women in the Philippines in World War II. She also reviews non-fiction for Publisher’s Weekly and The Wall Street Journal. A fan of The Roy Rogers Show since childhood, Kaminski claims that Dale Evans drew out her inner cowgirl at a young age, and later developed a fondness for country music and cowboys boots.