A Woman's Place Is at the Top: A Biography of Annie Smith Peck, Queen of the Climbers

Annie Smith Peck was an ambitious and enterprising mountain climber, professor, writer, suffragist and promoter of Pan-Americanism. She was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, the Society of Woman Geographers and a founding member of the American Alpine Club. She left large archives of diaries, letters and photographs, some of which scholar Hannah Kimberley has brought to light for the first time to compose this comprehensive biography, A Woman's Place Is at the Top.

Annie Smith Peck was born in 1850 in Rhode Island. At 17, she attended a lecture by a charismatic suffragist and was entranced. She fought to pursue higher education, and enrolled at the University of Michigan at age 27, where she got degrees in Greek and Classical languages. She studied archeology and languages in Germany and Greece, and expanded her love of hiking into mountaineering. She did her most significant mountain climbing after the age of 45, mostly in South America, and continued to travel and hike until her death at 84. Her expeditions gave her material for writing and lectures, which in turn paid for her travel. She never married, had many close friendships and, Kimberley says, few regrets. Kimberley's prose is serviceable, but she has shaped an enormous mass of material into a well-organized and lively story in which her subject's voice dominates. Peck never let anyone discourage her ambitions. "Ever the competitor, to each no Annie answered, 'Yes, I can.' And then she proved it." --Sara Catterall

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