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The influence of Greek culture on Michigan began long before the first Greeks arrived. The American settlers of the Old Northwest Territory had definite notions of Greeks and Greek culture. America and its developing society and culture were to be the "New Athens," a locale where the resurgence in the values and ideals of classical Greece were to be reborn. Stavros K. Frangos describes how such preconceptions and the competing desires to retain heritage and to assimilate have shaped the Greek experience in Michigan. From the padrone system to the church communities, Greek institutions have both exploited and served Greek immigrants, and from scattered communities across the state to enclaves in Detroit, Greek immigrants have retained and celebrated Greek culture.
A Southern Illinois Family Biography
In Growing Up in a Land Called Egypt: A Southern Illinois Family Biography, author Cleo Caraway fondly recalls how she and her siblings came of age on the family farm in the 1930s and 1940s. Like many others, the Caraways were affected by the economic hardships of the Great Depression, but Cleo’s parents strived to shelter her and her six siblings from the dire circumstances affecting the nation and their home and allowed them to bask in their idealistic existence. Her love for her family clearly shines from every page as she writes of a simpler time, before World War II divided the family.
Caraway revels in the life her family lived on a southern Illinois hilltop in Murphysboro township, marveling at the mix of commonplace and adventure she experienced in her childhood. She remembers her first day of school, walking three miles to the wondrous one-room building with her siblings; reminisces about strolling through the countryside with her mother, investigating the various plants and flowers, fruits and nuts; and recollects her fascination with the Indian relics she found buried near her home, a hobby she shared with her father. She also writes of seeing Gone with the Wind on the big screen at the Hippodrome in Murphysboro, of learning to sew dresses for her dolls, and of idyllic life on the farm—milking cows, hatching chicks, feeding pigs. Along with her personal memories Caraway includes interviews with neighbors and many fascinating photographs with detailed captions that make the images come alive.
A delightful follow-up to her father’s popular Foothold on a Hillside: Memories of a Southern Illinoisan, Caraway’s book is a pleasant change from the typical accounts of southern Illinois before, during, and after the Great Depression. Instead of hardscrabble grit, Growing Up in a Land Called Egypt offers a refreshingly different view of the period and is certain to be embraced by southern Illinois natives as well as anyone interested in the experiences of a rural family that thrived despite the difficult times. The author’s lighthearted prose, self-deprecating humor, and genuine affection for her family make reading this book a rich and memorable experience.
The Civilian Conservation Corps in Minnesota
Hard Work and a Good Deal traces the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which supplied jobs to more than 77,000 Minnesotans during the Great Depression. Nearly one hundred interviews contribute to oral historian Barbara W. Sommer's lively narrative as the "boys" look back on their time in the CCC, during which many of them became men. African American enrollees tell of the segregated policies enforced in the army-run camps; workers for the CCC-Indian Division remember reservation projects that included rebuilding a fur trade-era stockade at Grand Portage. Together, these men give voice to early efforts that advanced the conservation of Minnesota's natural resources five decades in a few short years.
A Chronicle of Five Farm Families
The Haymakers is an epic—the history of man’s struggle with nature as well as man’s struggle against machines. It relates the story of farmers and their obligations to their families, to the animals they fed, and to the land they tended. But The Haymakers is also an elegy—to a way of life fast disappearing from our landscape. In the most heartfelt essays, Hoffbeck chronicles his own family’s struggle to hold onto their family farm and his personal struggle in deciding to leave farming for another way of life. Hoffbeck also seeks to document and preserve the commonplace methods of haymaking, information about haying that might otherwise be lost to posterity. He describes the tools and the methods of haymaking as well as the relentless demands of the farm. Using diaries, agricultural guidebooks and personal interviews, the folkways of cutting, raking, and harvesting hay have been recorded in these chapters. In the end, this book is not so much about agricultural history as it is about family history, personal history—how farm families survive, even persevere.
Milwaukee and the Politics of Health Reform
Between 1850 and 1900, Milwaukee’s rapid population growth also gave rise to high death rates, infectious diseases, crowded housing, filthy streets, inadequate water supplies, and incredible stench. The Healthiest City shows how a coalition of reform groups brought about community education and municipal action to achieve for Milwaukee the title of “the healthiest city” by the 1930s. This highly praised book reminds us that cutting funds and regulations for preserving public health results in inconvenience, illness, and even death.
“A major work. . . . Leavitt focuses on three illustrative issues—smallpox, garbage, and milk, representing the larger areas of infectious disease, sanitation, and food control.”—Norman Gevitz, Journal of the American Medical Association
“Leavitt’s research provides additional evidence . . . that improvements in sanitation, living conditions, and diet contributed more to the overall decline in mortality rates than advances in medical practice. . . . A solid contribution to the history of urban reform politics and public health.”—Jo Ann Carrigan, Journal of American History
Women Abolitionists in the Old Northwest
Stacey Robertson argues that the environment of the Old Northwest--with its own complicated history of slavery and racism--created a uniquely collaborative and flexible approach to abolitionism. Western women helped build this local focus through their unusual and occasionally transgressive activities. They plunged into Liberty Party politics, vociferously supported a Quaker-led boycott of slave goods, and tirelessly aided fugitives and free blacks in their communities. Western women worked closely with male abolitionists, belying the notion of separate spheres that characterized abolitionism in the East. The contested history of race relations in the West also affected the development of abolitionism in the region, necessitating a pragmatic bent in their activities. Female antislavery societies focused on eliminating racist laws, aiding fugitive slaves, and building and sustaining schools for blacks. This approach required that abolitionists of all stripes work together, and women proved especially adept at such cooperation.
Some Fascinating Gifts to Henry Ford and His Museum
Henry's Attic provides fascinating documentation of some of the one million artifacts in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The items represent both Henry Ford's passion for collecting Americana and the astonishing array of gifts—some of great historic value and others of a distinctly homegrown variety—that account for almost half of the museum's collections. It was the quantity of these gifts and the unusual and even unique nature of many of them that provided the inspiration for this book. Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, which Ford established in Dearborn, Michigan in the late 1920s, was intended to recreate the slow-paced, rural character of America before the advent of the automobile. The purchases he made and the gifts he was given reflect his desire to document and preserve the lifeways of common people and to emphasize middle-class rural history, as represented by the tools of agriculture, industry, and transportation.
Eyewitness Accounts of the Nineteenth-Century Cent