A professor emerita of history at George Mason University, Paula Petrik is the author of No Step Backward: Women and Family on the Rocky Mountain Mining Frontier (1990) and a coeditor, with Elliott West, of Small Worlds: Children and Adolescents in America, 1850-1950 (1992). A recipient of Fulbright, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Smithsonian fellowships as well as an Apple Computer Faculty Internship, among others, she has published articles on women in the American West, the U.S. toy industry, and new media. She is currently working on a history of the Helena, Montana, banks and the Panic of 1893.
Capitalists with Rooms examines the institution of prostitution in the trans-Mississippi West via a case study of the women who worked in Helena, Montana. The lecture, moreover, is the distillation of twenty years of research that challenges contemporary interpretations of the one of the West's most durable stereotypes.