In September of 2011 I began this blog. I had found Isaac's journal in February of 2010 and had spent nearly a year transcribing it, as well as continuing with genealogy searches for every person mentioned in the journal and beginning the research that would continue for a decade. My first two books, published by Baylor University Press and Dutton, a division of Penguin, had been published fairly quickly, and I assumed the same for my third book. I continued doing research--traveling to the places where Isaac had lived, interviewing descendants of Isaac's neighbors, walking through cemeteries where people Isaac knew were buried, searching records at the courthouse, reading books Isaac had read, spending days turning the fragile, yellowed pages of the County Capital newspaper available at the Stafford County Historical Museum, reading biographies and autobiographies of famous people of Isaac's era, as well as reading other books of all kinds--academic, local histories and centennial editions, and government documents among others. I even walked the route between Isaac's claim and Doc Dix's claim where the local post office was located.
|Instructions for easier reading once you reach the University Press of Kansas at bottom of this blog.|
My research was traditionally academic but also a personal immersion into the place and era when Isaac Werner staked his homestead and timber claims and when his community became involved in the Populist Movement of the late 1800s. I wanted my book to be academically sound but I also wanted it to tell the story of Isaac and his neighbors in a nearly forgotten but extremely important time in American history. I was raised in Isaac's community and my husband and I returned to the community in retirement, but I knew little about the importance of the Populist Movement and the People's Party that grew out of the movement. Yet, the People's Party is the most successful 3rd party in American history, and many of their goals were adopted by our present political parties. I wanted to share that story with ordinary readers, not just scholars. Isaac had the personal library of a scholar but he was an ordinary man who valued the importance of reading. I wanted to write for people like Isaac, living today.
In doing the depth of research I have done to immerse myself in Isaac's time, I have discovered many things that informed me but do not appear directly in the book. I began the blog to share those things. My interest in exploring the era and places relevant to that time provided much of the content I have shared with followers of this blog over the years. I will continue the blog and already have some wonderful blogs about surrounding communities to share week by week. Thank you for your continued interest and support! I never expected for it to take so long to produce the published book. There were periods when I laid the manuscript aside, but many of you encouraged me not to give up on finding the right publisher for Isaac.
And I have! Right now I am doing the final proof reading and the indexing for the book. It is being published by the University Press of Kansas. They have supported my goal of writing in a narrative style that makes it enjoyable for general readers to immerse themselves in Isaac's story and be taken back into the years when Kansas and other states like Texas and other western and midwestern states, and post Civil War Southern states challenged the two established political parties, marched for Prohibition and Women's Rights, confronted the power of wealth during the so-called Golden Age, and played their role in transforming the nation during a period of a growing middle class.
Soon, I will finish the proofing and indexing and will be like the rest of you, awaiting the arrival of the published book. Thank you again. The image I have attached is from the University Press of Kansas Fall Catalogue. Most of you who follow this blog will recognize the journal that appears on the cover of the book. I think Isaac would be pleased.
To see the page above for easier reading, go to www.kansaspress.ku.edu and in the search box top left of the page enter Lynda Beck Fenwick. That will take you to the page shown above with lettering much easier to read. At the bottom line following the first two reviews, (rather hard to see), you can click to read the reviews by two more reviewers. I am very honored by the four reviewers and by their comments. I especially like how each reviewer brought out different perspectives about the book.