A friend whose opinion I value once told me that I was on a fishing expedition in John Shane's settler interviews. Of course he was right. The lure of ordinary women and men attempting to make sense of their own lives within the stream of history was more than I--or perhaps any cultural analyst--could resist. In the process of examining these slippery and often elusive documents I have ranged widely into the preserves of disciplines other than history, and have accrued many debts--both intellectual and personal.
Northwestern University provided generous support for the dissertation research from which this book grew. I would particularly like to thank the Alumnae of Northwestern for naming me a Dissertation Fellow for the academic year 1990-91. The Fort Dearborn Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution awarded me their American History Award for that same year and I would like to acknowledge their support as well. Timothy H. Breen has been an exemplary adviser. His high standards and unfailing support have earned my deepest respect and gratitude. Robert H. Wiebe has both challenged me and cheered me with his trenchant critiques and continuing friendship. Karen Halttunen, Michael Sherry, Nancy MacLean, and others have also given generously of their time and advice; I have been immensely fortunate to have had such inspiring teachers and history mentors.
Centre College has supported the latter stages of my writing with a Summer Research Grant and a Teagle Faculty Development Grant. I am particularly grateful to the Teagle Foundation for its generous support for junior faculty research. I also thank Dean John Ward for a