Current Issue

Village Entrepreneurs: The Economic Foundations of Valencian Rural Elites in the Fifteenth Century FREDERIC APARISI

During the last decade, rural historians have increasingly studied the wealthier sectors of rural communities. This paper seeks to analyze the economic activities of rural elites, focusing on the Midlands in the kingdom of Valencia during the fifteenth century. The combination of both notarial and court of justice registers provides a perspective on the multiple businesses of those families and offers insights into the general trends of European rural elites in the Middle Ages, as well as specific information about those in Valencia.

Reading Stone and Steel: Statues as Primary Sources for Agricultural History JAMES C. GIESEN AND ANNE E. MARSHALL

Statues, monuments, and other public memorials have long been a rich vein of source material for historians studying a variety of issues, from politics and race to war and economics. However, few agricultural historians have utilized these displays in their understanding of farmers and farm life. This article suggests several ways that scholars and students might begin to examine these sources for understanding agricultural history. The authors use two particular statues, one well known and one nearly forgotten, to explain these methods and to demonstrate the complex public and private histories that they can help to uncover.

Can You Be a Productive Scholar at a Teaching Institution? Yes, with Mindfulness and Planning MELISSA WALKER

The vast majority of new PhDs will spend their academic lives at regional universities, liberal arts colleges, and even two-year schools, where the primary focus is on excellence in teaching, and the service load is heavy. In that environment, maintaining a scholarly life is challenging, but with planning and mindful time management, it is possible.


Bondswomen’s Work on the Cotton Frontier: Wagram Plantation, Arkansas KELLY HOUSTON JONES

This essay attends to the work life of women on a plantation called Wagram, located on the Arkansas cotton frontier. Through an examination of this absentee-owned farm in one rugged corner of the Old Southwest, it uncovers women who faced challenges that differed from those faced on the classic cotton plantation. This was most obvious in the role of women as prime workers of the crop, but includes gender politics that omitted the white planter family, and the meaning of space.

Women and Rural Social Reform in the 1870s and 1880s: Clara Bewick Colby’s ‘Farmers’ Wives’ KRISTIN MAPEL BLOOMBERG

The decades following the Civil War saw a proliferation of reform ideas about rural life, labor, and family and gender roles. Clara Bewick Colby’s “Farmers’ Wives” was a particularly robust example of women’s late nineteenth-century oratory that used a gendered analysis to inform audiences about barriers preventing farmwomen from achieving their full potential; it also offered solutions to those problems. Addresses made by Colby and others were foundational to creating a modern image of the farm wife. Read in context with women’s oratory on similar topics, speeches by Colby and others illuminate the views of progressive rural women in the emerging middle class who worked to advance the lives of farmwomen.

The Meanings of Independence in the Oral Autobiographies of Rural Women in Twentieth-Century New York GREY OSTERUD

This essay explores what rural women called “independence” when they were growing up in New York State during the early twentieth century. They wanted to get an education and a job, but most saw nothing wrong with the prospect of farming except for the poverty it often entailed. They were most concerned about what, in retrospect, they called “male domination” and “female subordination,” which, at the time, was epitomized by the saying: “The man is the boss; the father is the head of the house.” In their eyes, working for wages before they married, contributing their savings to the down payment for the land they bought with their husband and, later on, sharing the farm work and earning money to support the family all put them in a better position in their marriage, helping to ensure that their opinions were listened to and that they provided for their children’s future.

Book Reviews


Robertson, Landscapes of Protest in the Scottish Highlands after 1914: The Later Highland Wars, by John MacAskill

Whittle, ed., Landlords and Tenants in Britain, 1440–1660: Tawney's Agrarian Problem Revisited, by Alasdair Ross

Graziosi et al., eds., After the Holodomor: The Enduring Impact of the Great Famine on Ukraine, by Michael Gelb

Bailey, The Decline of Serfdom in Late Medieval England: From Bondage to Freedom, by A. T. Brown

Aparisi and Royo, eds., Beyond Lords and Peasants: Rural Elites and Economic Differentiation in Pre-Modern Europe, by Philip Slavin

Dewis, The Loudons and the Gardening Press: A Victorian Cultural Industry, by Phillada Ballard

Latin America

Ortíz Cuadra, Eating Puerto Rico: A History of Food, Culture, and Identity, by Jeffrey M. Pilcher

Newman, Biography of a Hacienda: Work and Revolution in Rural Mexico, by Carmen Kordick

North America

Marler, The Merchants’ Capital: New Orleans and the Political Economy of the Nineteenth-Century South, by John F. Kvach

McArthur, St. Thomas, Nevada: A History Uncovered, by Christian Harrison

Gray, Labor and the Locavore: The Making of a Comprehensive Food Ethic, by C. Clare Hinrichs

Castenada and Simpson, eds., River City and Valley Life: An Environmental History of the Sacramento Region, by Linda L. Ivey

Kvach, De Bow’s Review: The Antebellum Vision of a New South, by Brenden Kennedy

Petty, Standing Their Ground: Small Farmers in North Carolina since the Civil War, by Debra A. Reid

Pawel, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, by Christina Salinas

Farmer, Trees in Paradise: A California History, by Paul J. P. Sandul

Miller, Seeking the Greatest Good: The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot, by Aaron Shapiro

Kennedy, Cotton and Conquest: How the Plantation System Acquired Texas, by Keith Volanto

Riney-Kehrberg, The Nature of Childhood: An Environmental History of Growing Up in America Since 1865, by Kevin C. Armitage

Bremer, A Store Almost in Sight: The Economic Transformation of Missouri from the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War, by Brooks Blevins

Massie, Forest Prairie Edge: Place History in Saskatchewan, by Claire Campbell

Nubbs, Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music, by John Hayes

Ingram, Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900–1930, by Ted Ownby

McKinley, Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold: Phosphate, Fertilizer, and Industrialization in Postbellum South Carolina, by Timothy Johnson

Cox, ed., Once I Too Had Wings: The Journals of Emma Bell Miles, 1908–1918, byMinoa D. Uffelman


McDermott, The Making of a New Rural Order in South China: I. Village, Land, and Lineage in Huizhou, 900–1600, by Ian Matthew Miller

Zhang, Coping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736–1949, by David Bello


Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History, and Baptist, The Half has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, by Barbara Hahn

Jørgensen et al., eds., New Natures: Joining Environmental History with Science and Technology Studies, by Jeremy Vetter

Tinsman, Buying into the Regime: Grapes and Cold War Consumption in Chile and the United States, by Stuart McCook

Wiley, Cultures of Milk: The Biology and Meaning of Dairy Products in the United States and India, by Kendra Smith-Howard

O’Malley, Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619–1807, by Ty M. Reese

Wingard and Hayes, eds., Soils, Climate and Society: Archaeological Investigations in Ancient America, by Lisa J. Lucero