Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

February 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:1 (February 1993), pp. 130-131. Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


This monograph thoroughly addresses a topic more narrow than its title implies. Its core is an agricultural history of Swedes, Russian-Mennonites, and French-Canadians in central Kansas from 1875 to 1925.

McQuillan reasons that ethnic groups' value systems can be discerned by studying the outcomes of their everyday decisions. Hence he focuses on the rich Kansas agricultural manuscript census schedules to discern how the three groups of immigrants adapted to the arid, often mercurial physical environment in which they found themselves and to the host culture which threatened to swallow up their ethnic distinctiveness. This, then, is a history of ethnic agriculture and ethnic persistence, both measured largely by agricultural outputs.