Victorian America: A Family Record from the Heartland

Margaret Baker Graham

$29.95

Margaret Graham draws from an extensive collection of letters, journals, Bible entries, receipts, newspaper clippings, and photographs from 1860 to 1902 to portray the family of boarding house proprietor Margaret Bruin Machette.

 

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Description

Life in Victorian America is richly detailed in this domestic history of one middle-class family from Missouri. Author Margaret Graham draws from an extensive collection of letters, journals, Bible entries, receipts, newspaper clippings, and photographs from 1860 to 1902 to portray the family of boarding house proprietor Margaret Bruin Machette. These letters of Margaret Machette, her four children, and other correspondents focus primarily on familial devotion, deep religious faith, the constancy of work, and a commitment to education during Victorian America. The letters inevitably include references to critical points in American history such as Lincoln’s assassination, Jesse James’ robberies, controversial political elections, and the Civil War, with an emphasis on how war, epidemics, and drought affected the Machette family.

Engaging and compelling narratives are woven into the fabric of this complicated narrative, which traces the experiences of Margaret Bruin Machette, her husband Charles Machette, their children, and their extended family members through numerous periods of war, epidemics, political upheaval, and social change.… Highly original, Victorian America: A Family Record from the Heartland makes a solid contribution to the field of life writing.

—Suzanne L. Bunker

 

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

The Presbyterian Church and the Rebellion, 1860–1869
Deep Afflictions and Dear Times, 1870–1879
Earthly Things, 1880–1889
“A Home Not Made with Hands,” 1890–1902

Descendants

References and Selected Bibliography

Index

Authors

Margaret Baker Graham was born in Fulton, Missouri and received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Graham was a professor of English at Iowa State University.

Reviews

Victorian America is a well laid-out and beautifully printed book that makes extensive use of illustrations of exceptional quality to document the existence and growth of a family in the heartland of America. It…is an exceptional addition to libraries.

—Kingdom of Callaway
Historical Society newsletter

It is part of the genius of this oversize, eclectic, thoughtfully organized collection that it can be read on several levels: culled for straight history, browsed for printed and other trappings of popular culture or mined in depth for its household’s-eye view of an American family in transition.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Highly original, [this book] makes a solid contribution to the field of life writing, a field that encompasses varied forms.… Graham takes great care to provide context for the materials…and because she does not shrink from discussing issues of race, class, and gender roles, this book would work well as a text in an American history, literature, or women’s studies course.

—National Women’s Studies Association

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