From before the time Mark Twain and Bret Harte wrote about the gold rush, women in the new state of California were also writing about their experiences. A good starting point for finding more about these women writers is No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, edited by Ida Rae Egli. This anthology includes poems, stories and essays by Sarah Eleanor Royce, Lucy Young, Dame Shirley, Helen McCowen Carpenter, Frances Fuller Victor, Josephine Clifford McCrackin, Jessie Benton Fremont, Hipolita Orendain de Medina, Georgiana Kirby, Ina Coolbrith, Mary Hallock Foote, Charlotte L. Brown, Ellen Sterling Cummins Mighels, Adah Isaacs Menken, Ada Clare.
Read more about these writers in this review from California Historian.
Read selections from this anthology in Google Books
Scripts and podcasts of selections by some of these authors can be found at the California Legacy Project
The California Room of San José Public Library has works by and about many of these writers.