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Letters of a Ticonderoga Farmer: Selections from the Correspondence of William H. Cook and His Wife with Their Son, Joseph Cook, 1851-1885 (Paperback)
  • Letters of a Ticonderoga Farmer: Selections from the Correspondence of William H. Cook and His Wife with Their Son, Joseph Cook, 1851-1885 (Paperback)

Letters of a Ticonderoga Farmer: Selections from the Correspondence of William H. Cook and His Wife with Their Son, Joseph Cook, 1851-1885 (Paperback)

Paperback 148 Pages / Published: 11/03/2010
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William H. Cook, of the village of Ticonderoga, exemplified the strong, high-minded farmer of the nineteenth century. Devoted to his only son, Joseph, William's one consuming desire was to see that this boy should have an education with the best. Although it meant years of financial sacrifices for the old farmer, Joseph was sent to the finest schools: Phillips Andover, Yale, Harvard, and universities in Germany.After twenty years of education, Joseph became famous as the "Boston Monday Lecturer," whose talks on subjects ranging from theology and science to current events and world history attracted thousands of listeners every week and were reprinted in newspapers around the world. His lecture tours took him around the world and his books became bestsellers in their day. After leaving home at the age of thirteen, Joseph only returned to Ticonderoga infrequently. But father and son kept in close touch by letter over a thirty-year period.In Letters of a Ticonderoga Farmer (first published by Cornell in 1946), Frederick G. Bascom has made selections from their correspondence between 1851 and 1885, which together present a delightful running narrative of both William's day-to-day life in nineteenth-century upstate New York, revealing a shrewd yet generous nature and a homely genius, and Joseph's experiences in higher education and as a celebrity. Letters from Joseph's mother to her son, though fewer in number, round out the portrait of both farm and family life in this period.Introduced and lightly annotated by Bascom, these letters continue to offer useful and charming insights into the social history of upstate New York, from economic and industrial developments to local politics and religious controversies, as well as offering much human interest and considerable local color.

Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801475832
Number of pages: 148
Weight: 227 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 9 mm


"The letters from the father to the son are full of sound, homely advice, and undoubtedly played a part in the development of the young man. The letters from the mother denote that Joseph Cook's maternal endowment was of first rate quality. The letters throw an illuminating and frequently a cheerful light on the rural life of northern New York in the latter half of the nineteenth century."

* New York History *

"The story told in these letters of a farmer and stock-raising father who invested everything in his one son until the latter was self-supporting at age thirty-eight is well worth preserving. It is life with father, or on father, that reveals an appealing character whose faith in God, his son, hard work, and well-bred horses was justified to his own satisfaction before he died in 1885.... Farming and finances and shrewd advice and some politics are the themes of these letters."

* American Historical Review *

"These homely letters of the farmer-father, supplemented occasionally by mother and son, reveal with undeniable flavor the trials and compensations of parents who for more than twenty years turn their trickle of hard-earned savings into the cup of an only child's education. The correspondence gives an intimate view of upstate New York farm life.... This neat volume will appeal to a wide range of readers: the rural sociologist concerned with regional background; the educator interested in parent-youth-faculty relations; the historian of the Lincoln period; the ethical or religious scholar tracing the change in concepts of morality; and the general reader fascinated by all of these interests."

* Rural Sociology *

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