Cover for FARNHAM: Life in Prairie Land. Click for larger image

Life in Prairie Land

Combining descriptive travel writing, autobiography, and the depth of the extended essay, Life in Prairie Land--back in print in this new edition--is a classic account of everyday life in early Illinois. Eliza Farnham, a New Yorker who would become one of the leading feminists of her time, describes the nearly five years she spent living in the prairie land of Tazewell County.

Life in Prairie Land is a complex portrait of the midwestern wilderness during the 1830s--beautiful and ugly, beneficent and threatening. Farnham's vivid recreation of her experiences on the Illinois frontier offers a realistic depiction of the harsh pioneer lifestyle as well as a romantic view of an Edenic landscape.

Life in Prairie Land includes descriptions of Farnham's encounters with early settlers and Native Americans, her eye-opening experiences with birth and death, the flora and fauna that surrounded her, and the developing towns she passed through in her travels. Farnham's years on the Illinois frontier showed her the possibilities of a less restrictive society and planted the seeds that would later grow into firmly held and eloquently expressed views on women's equality. .

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