Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Books on the Midwest’s Natural History

September 25th, 2019

From highlighting the Midwest’s rich agricultural history, to celebrating it’s natural beauty, Purdue University Press publishes books that give an oft-overlooked part of the country a deserving look.

Check out select titles below, and get 30% off when you order directly from our website using discount code PURDUE30.

Memories of Life on the Farm: Through the Lens of Pioneer Photographer J. C. Allen

by Frederick Whitford and Neal Harmeyer


Purdue University Press’s newest book in Agriculture, Memories of Life on the Farm gives readers a look at early 20th century Indiana agriculture, its people, and communities through the photography of John Calvin Allen.

Allen’s photographs also document clothing styles, home furnishings, and the items people thought important as they went about their daily lives. Looking closely at tractors, livestock, wagons, planters, sprayers harvesting equipment, and crops gives one a sense of the changing and fast-paced world of agriculture at that time. This volume contains over 900 picturesque images, most never-before-seen, of men, women, and children working on the farm, which remain powerful reminders of life in rural America at the turn of the twentieth century.

If you like this book you may also be interested in Enriching the Hoosier Farm Family: A Photo History of Indiana’s Early County Extension Agents.



The front cover of a book, a small boy holding a puppy is pictured


Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge: The Words and Works of Indiana’s
Pioneer County Extension Agents

by Frederick Whitford


Scattering the Seeds of Knowledge chronicles the tales of the first county Extension agents, from 1912 to 1939. Their story brings readers back to a day when Extension was little more than words on paper, when county agents traveled the muddy back roads, stopping at each farm, introducing themselves to the farmer and his family.

Their story is a history lesson on what agriculture was like at the turn of the twentieth century, and a lesson to us all about how patient outreach and dedicated engagement—backed by proven science from university research—reshaped and modernized Indiana agriculture.

Learn more about Fred Whitford and his other books for Purdue University Press. 



A Place Called Turkey Run: A Celebration of Indiana Second State Park in Photographs and Words

by Daniel P. Shepardson


A Place Called Turkey Run captures the majesty and mystique of Indiana’s second state park in text and hundreds of full-color images.

This book is published to honor the natural heritage of the land it describes, in celebration of Turkey Run’s hundredth anniversary as an Indiana State Park.

If you’re interested in this book, you may be interested in Photographing Turkey Run: A Guide to Nature Photography, which contains tips and techniques designed to provide a basic understanding of how to photograph nature and improve one’s photography skills.


American Agriculture; revised edition: A Brief History

by R. Douglas Hurt


This brief history of American agriculture, from the prehistoric period through the twentieth century, is written for anyone coming to this subject for the first time.

The author offers a provocative look at a history that has been shaped by the best and worst of human nature, and provides the background essential for understanding the complexity of American agricultural history, from the transition to commercial agriculture during the colonial period to the failure of government policy following World War II.


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