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Prosperity Far Distant

The Journal of an American Farmer, 1933-1934

Charles M. Wiltse

Publication Year: 2012

Fresh from receiving a doctorate from Cornell University in 1933, but unable to find work, Charles M. Wiltse joined his parents on the small farm they had recently purchased in southern Ohio. There, the Wiltses scratched out a living selling eggs, corn, and other farm goods at prices that were barely enough to keep the farm intact.

In wry and often affecting prose, Wiltse recorded a year in the life of this quintessentially American place during the Great Depression. He describes the family’s daily routine, occasional light moments, and their ongoing frustrations, small and large—from a neighbor’s hog that continually broke into the cornfields to the ongoing struggle with their finances. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal had little to offer small farmers, and despite repeated requests, the family could not secure loans from local banks to help them through the hard economic times. Wiltse spoke the bitter truth when he told his diary, “We are not a lucky family.” In this he represented millions of others caught in the maw of a national disaster.

The diary is introduced and edited by Michael J. Birkner, Wiltse’s former colleague at the Papers of Daniel Webster Project at Dartmouth College, and coeditor, with Wiltse, of the final volume of Webster’s correspondence.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. ix-ix

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pp. xi-xii

I don’t know when I’ve read a book so profoundly uplifting and at the same time, so devastatingly depressing as this account of . . .

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A Note on the Source

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p. xiii-xiii

The original diary of Charles Wiltse’s experience as an Ohio farmer is lost. It almost certainly was composed in longhand . . .

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pp. xv-xvi

In my editorial work I have inevitably accrued debts. When I first told Gillian Berchowitz, editorial director at Ohio . . .

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pp. xvii-xxxvi

Among the few diversions Charles Wiltse enjoyed during his year of toil on a small family farm in Depression-era Ohio, one stood out. He would . . .

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The Journal of an Ohio Farmer, 1933–1934

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pp. 1-256

It is now almost a year since I made what proved to be the final entry in this Journal of an Ohio farmer, yet even now I cannot . . .


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pp. 257-270


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pp. 271-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780821444092
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821419984

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2012