Mules, Bears, and Broads:
Missouri's Women Missouri Images

What do Carry Nation, Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, Sacajawea, and Maya Angelou have in common? They were all Missourians at some time in their lives, generally during a formative phase--either for the state or for the woman, usually for both.  This page provides a link to articles, book chapters and other materials from Missouri publications.  Women's roles in the settling, growth, and governance of Missouri have been the subject of on-going research and the results have been published sporadically over the decades.  The articles address issues such as abolition, war, women's suffrage, prohibition, prostitution and economic independence.

Why the cheeky title?  Mules were chosen as the state's animal because of their tough, hardy nature.  Hybrids of mares and donkeys, they were introduced during the 1820's and were popular with farmers and settlers, despite being ornery critters.  Bears, grizzlies to be exact, are a native animal and symbolize strength and bravery on the state's seal.  Toughness and bravery have always been traits noted in Missouri's women and "broads" was a snide reference to tough, brave, ornery women--a term to embrace rather than avoid.  Besides, what would Belle Starr have called this? By the way, bears have once again been seen in Missouri *.  Mules and broads were never scarce.

It's a great place to be from...

* "A good guess would be that we have somewhere between 150 and 300 bears in Missouri. They are scattered across 20 counties, all of them south of Interstate 44." from Missouri Conservationist for Kids, the Back Page [], last viewed on 13 February 2002.

Update:  Two school janitors spotted a bear in St. Charles County, Missouri, in the spring of 2002.  St. Charles (the first state capitol) has become a suburb of St. Louis and is situated not only north of Interstate 44, but also north of the Missouri River, which bisects the state.