A Secret to Be Buried: The Diary and Life of Emily Hawley Gillespie, 1858-1888

Judy N. Lensink, Author, Emily Hawley Gillespie, Author University of Iowa Press $24.95 (472p) ISBN 978-0-87745-237-9
A pioneer in rural Iowa, Gillespie kept a journal for 30 years, and excerpts here form an absorbing drama. An independent-minded 20-year-old when she begins her diary, she is besieged by suitors--all of whom she coolly evaluates and rejects, although a woman of her age was then considered more than ripe for marriage. Gillespie waits four more years, marrying only when she falls in love. She writes of finding great happiness with her two children and her ``very kind'' husband, and hard work does not prevent her from reading Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and advocating women's suffrage. Gradually her contentment with her husband erodes as she withdraws sexually and he becomes frighteningly hostile, and the rigors of her existence foment an illness from which she never recovers. The secret referred to in the title is deliberately buried with her; she confides only that she has one. Extensive editorial commentary places Gillespie's life into historical context. Lensink teaches literature at the University of Arizona. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-0-87745-229-4
Open Ebook - 461 pages - 978-1-58729-133-3
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