Edited by Dale B. J. Randall
Soliloquy of a Farmer's Wife is the bare-bones diary of a Geneva, Ohio, farmer’s wife, Annie Perrin, who wrote during the last three weeks of 1917 and all of 1918, that is, during the final battles, climax, and close of World War I.
Her entries recount her family’s trip to Florida where they considered settling before deciding to make a go of their farm near Lake Erie. She writes also of the daily chores and personal stresses of dealing with a difficult husband, sending a son off to the Navy, and worrying about the health of her younger son.
In addition to the work and worry, and despite the fact that their farm was without electricity or running water, and despite the outbreak of the Spanish influenza epidemic, Annie Perrin records the occasional good times, including visits to the nearest cities, Ashtabula to the east, and Cleveland to the west.
Since Annie’s diary entries are brief and cryptic, they are supplemented here with a full introduction, four appendices, and extensive notation. Together with copious illustrations, these elements help to create not only a factual but also a warmly humane and rounded sense of family members and neighbors, of various farming practices of the day, and of life in the nearby village.
Dale B. J. Randall, an Ohio native, is Professor of English at Duke University and is the author of numerous essays and books.
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