Through out history the women of New France have been portrayed as a “pull” or “push” factor for men in the fur trade.[4] This is an inaccurate portrayal as the women of New France did a lot for not only the fur trade but for themselves and their family. The purpose of the article, “Nagging Wife” Revisited: Woman and The Fur Trade in New France” by Jan Noel, is to educate the reader on the Woman of New France and how they were an intricate part of the Fur Trade History.

By utilizing a wide range of primary and secondary sources, the author was able to create a story about specific women in New France who made quite an impact on the fur trade. In 1717, for example, “Louise Denys de la Ronde commissioned a voyageur to journey to Michilimackinac for furs; a few years later she entered business with tanner Louis Mallet on the understanding it was she who would supply the animal skins When she died, her assets totalled over 46,000 livre. “ [5] This is significant as she went from having nothing, due to the poor business practices of her husband, to having a decent wealth.[6] All thanks to her own skills as a businesswoman during the fur trade.

In the article, there are many examples of women in the fur trade whose impact was not as well known but just as important. There was a variety of “small fry” [7] operations where woman were “the main providers of trades to the Jesuit missions or the crown”[8] Women were constantly making their own money be it through trade, baking, farming or running households. This was unlike most women during this time in history as many women during this time were expected to stay indoors, cook, clean, run the household and bear children.

As noted by Peter Kalm, the women of New France were unlike the woman in other parts of the world. Unlike the women in Sweden, the woman of New France failed to stay indoors and do the chores necessary to maintain a clean household. They did not appear to care about keeping clean clothes, being tidy or acting like proper women. They were more often than not outside, going to the markets or helping with the jobs of the men. [9]

Contrary to popular belief, the women of New France were more than just wives and daughters; they were entrepreneurs, businesswoman and professionals who deeply impacted fur trade history. By using a variety of sources, the author was able to educate the reader about the important role the women of New France had on not only the fur trade, but in everyday life.

[4] Jan Noel, “Nagging Wife” Revisited: Women and the fur trade in New France. French Colonial Hostory Vol 7(2006) pg.45

[5] Jan Noel, “Nagging Wife” Revisited: Women and the fur trade in New France. French Colonial Hostory Vol 7(2006) pg.48

[6] ibid. 48

[7] ibid. 49

[8] ibid.50

[9] ibid. 51