Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 16:2 (Spring 1996). Copyright © 1996 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Along with the original narrative this volume provides an epilogue by Jacob Calof, Rachel's youngest child, and two essays, one by J. Sanford Rikoon, the other by Elizabeth Jameson. Jacob Calof's comments confirm the strength and courage we find in his mother's words.

The essays lend significant context to the narrative. Rikoon gives a concise and informative explanation of the history of Jewish families that left Russia and eastern Europe to settle on farms in the Heartland. Jameson's analysis places Rachel's narrative in historical perspective and emphasizes the importance of recognizing diversities of ethnicity, class, and gender in the interpretation of history.

This volume is among the finest work I have read in illuminating women's roles and the intricacies of family dynamics. It gives strong support to a vital and more realistic settlement history.