As absentee owners of large estates, each of the four women faced challenges from those who wanted land redistributed in freehold lots to actual settlers. Their individual management strategies were determined in part by class standing and marital status, as well as individual eccentricities and prejudices. Drawing on family and official papers, Rusty Bittermann and Margaret McCallum provide engaging portraits of these women - orphaned heiress, prudent wife and property manager, countess estranged from her husband, independent spinster - as they negotiated relations of power and privilege in a domain dominated by men.
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