Settlers' Children: Growing Up on the Great Plains

Elizabeth Hampsten, Author University of Oklahoma Press $26.95 (252p) ISBN 978-0-8061-2342-4
Despite well-documented accounts of western pioneer experience, we know very little about the lives of children in that first-settlement generation, notes the author, professor of English at the University of North Dakota. Through letters, diaries, family histories and interviews, Hampsten assembles portraits of children in late 19th-, early 20th-century North Dakota, where many settlers were European immigrants living in ethnic clusters. In the generally poor farm families, every member worked to the limit of endurance in conditions so primitive that parents were occupied just keeping their offspring alive. Hampsten notes that the issue of children working on farms was the single most effective block to child labor laws. The book is a valuable addition to settlement literature and to women's studies. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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