Charles M. Wiltse was a professor of history at Dartmouth College and the general editor of the fifteen-volume The Papers of Daniel Webster. He was also the author of many other books, including a three-volume biography of John C. Calhoun and The Jeffersonian Tradition in American Democracy.
Fresh from receiving a doctorate from Cornell University in 1933, but unable to find work, Charles M. Wiltse joined his parents on the small farm they had recently purchased in southern Ohio. There, the Wiltses scratched out a living selling eggs, corn, and other farm goods at prices that were barely enough to keep the farm intact. In wry and often affecting prose, Wiltse recorded a year in the life of this quintessentially American place during the Great Depression.