Three quarters of a century ago, writer Bess Streeter Aldrich sought to use her fiction to overturn a woefully inadequate portrayal of midwesterners and midwestern life; recent historians of rural midwestern women have been similarly motivated. Yet they have faced daunting challenges. Like Aldrich, historians contest the region’s stultifying and monolithic image to bring to light the wide variety of meaningful and important gendered and cross-cultural experiences. Although the region is often difficult to interpret in all of its complexity, contradictions, and variations, it is also a place tied to a common agricultural heritage. Within this context, rural Midwestern women and their experiences have historically shaped, altered, and influenced rural life and agriculture of localities, the region, and beyond as the recent scholarship in this bibliographic essay demonstrates.

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