Following a hardscrabble childhood in remote regions of northern and central New Mexico, and then many years of rigorous education, Agnes Morley married Newton Cleaveland in 1899. The couple took up primary residence in Berkeley, California, where Agnes lived another kind of life as clubwoman and activist. Yet Agnes's ranch in the Datil Mountains always drew her back to New Mexico and provided the raw material for her writing.
Seen as a whole, Cleaveland's life story spans the years from territorial New Mexico to the Cold War, includes the raising of her four children and interactions with a wide range of national and regional characters, and provides insight into such aspects of western culture as railroads, cattle, and tourism. Her biography is a case study in the roles that wealthy and well-educated women played during the first half of the twentieth century in both domestic and political spheres and will intrigue anyone familiar with the writings of this multifaceted woman.