Sunshine Always

The Courtship Letters of Alice Bower and Joseph Gossage of Dakota Territory

Sunshine Always


$11.95, Hardback
ISBN: 9780974919560

Originally priced at $24.95

Indie Excellence Awards Finalist, History Category, 2008

“Have you ever anxiously opened a newly-arrived letter only to discover it was meant for your neighbor two doors down? Reading Sunshine Always seems a bit like that—indulging oneself in someone else’s personal correspondence. But what a rare glimpse it is. . . . [Sunshine Always] demonstrates the enduring beauty of the handwritten word.”—Nebraska History

"Sunshine Always is a good choice for readers interested in history, biography, or love stories."—Book Marks, South Dakota Library Association

"Nelson's introduction provides an excellent historical context for the letters."—Book Marks, South Dakota Library Association

Through their letter, Sunshine Always delves into the romance of two young people trying to find love and success in the harsh environment of Dakota Territory. When their relationship began, Alice Bower lived in Vermillion, where she worked as a typesetter when she could and cared for her younger siblings when she had to. Joseph Gossage lived in Rapid City, where he worked to take advantage of the influx of people drawn by the mining book in the Black Hills. He founded what would become the second largest newspaper in the state, the Rapid City Journal, and his need for a good typesetter led him to find a good wife.

Introduced to each other on paper in 1880, Bower and Gossage conducted their courtship through letters amid the strict formality of the era. They addressed each other as Mister and Miss, tempered each other's informal indiscretions, and filled their letters with heart-felt discussions. Despite hard times when flood swept away Alice Bower's home and Gossage's newspaper business struggled to succeed, their communication led to love and, eventually, marriage.

The couple's letters open a window into the hopes, fears, dreams, and beliefs of two fascinating young people in a dramatic period of the country's development.

More Praise:

"The letters offer glimpses into everyday life on the Plains in the 1880s."—Kansas History

"Sunshine Always is enthusiastically recommended reading and a welcome contribution to both academic and community library collections."—Midwest Book Review

"The letters reveal something of the political and religious values and social expectations of upwardly mobile middle class people in the Dakota Territory . . . "—Reference & Research Book News

"The letters provide a unique and engaging 'window in time' . . . "—Midwest Book Review