Mary Doria Russell’s The Women of the Copper Country is a fictionalized historical account of the 1913 mining strike in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Significantly in this strike, a great deal of leadership was focused in the Union’s Women’s Auxiliary. In particular, one woman formed the backbone of the local movement. Known by her community as Big Annie, Anna Klobuchar Clements was the heart of the 1913 strike. Memories of her bravery linger today in the form of recorded testimonies by elderly community members, immortalization in plaques and songs, and Russell’s popular novel. Today she is remembered not as herself, not as the fully complex, flawed and inspiring person who once lived. She is remembered sometimes as a negative influence on her community, and more commonly as a shining heroine of labor and feminism. Even in her own day, the media contributed to these simplified or one-dimensional portrayals. She was dubbed, "An American Joan of Arc."

Class Associated With Work

HON 211 The Upper Peninsula in Popular Culture


English and French



Document Type

Scholarly Article