Hope Amid Hardship: Pioneer Voices from Kansas Territory

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TwoDot, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, is proud to announce the August 6, 2013, release of HOPE AMID HARDSHIP: Pioneer Voices from Kansas Territory, by Linda S. Johnston (978-0-7627-8486-8; $16.95 paperback; full-color illus. throughout).


Hope Amid Hardship brings together the reflections of 60 Kansas pioneers of different ages, backgrounds, and outlooks who helped shape the identity of the Sunflower State.

Despite the challenges of loneliness, drought, and political turmoil, many found and wrote about joy and beauty in their adopted communities. Letters and diaries describe the times that gave them reason to sing, dance, and celebrate – moments when their burdens were lighter. Their stories also give ample opportunity to reflect on their courage and willingness to sacrifice for their ideals. Linda Johnston’s charming, four-color illustrations give the book a keepsake quality and help bring the pioneers’ stories to life.


Hope Amid Hardship would not exist if it weren’t for the pioneers who diligently kept journals and diaries, giving us a window into their experience hundreds of years later. Johnston is now launching The Journaling Project, a series of workshops for young people in which she will show the key role journals played in her research, and give students suggestions for keeping journals of their own, discussing the different types of journals, information to include, and incorporating illustrations.

“The persons whose diaries and journals I included in my book were not famous, they were everyday people trying to make a life in a new place,” Johnston says. “The purpose of the Journaling Project is to show that individual writings from everyday life are important and become a part of history that helps reveal the character and personality of a time and/or place. Ordinary words become extraordinary.”


Linda S. Johnston began reading pioneer diaries in 1986 and never stopped. Though her own emigration to Kansas came 140 years after the accounts included in this book, she understood the apprehension of leaving home and friends for an unfamiliar place. Extensive archival research enabled her to present these writings in their historical context and to bring them into conversation with one another. Her background as an artist and naturalist gives a unique perspective on these sixty remarkable individuals who wrote of hardship and challenges. She now lives in Gainesville, Va. Visit her online at www.lindasjohnston.com.


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