Prairie Patrimony

Family, Farming, and Community in the Midwest

By Sonya Salamon

318 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 8 figs., 19 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4553-0
    Published: September 1995
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1118-1
    Published: February 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8123-6
    Published: February 2014

Studies in Rural Culture

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Drawing on a decade-long ethnographic study of seven Illinois farming communities, Salamon demonstrates how family land transfers serve as the mechanism fro recreating the social relations fundamental to midwestern ethnic identities. She shows how, along with the land, families pass on a cultural patrimony that shapes practices of farm management, succession, and inheritance and that ultimately determines how land tenure and the personality of rural communities evolve.

About the Author

Sonya Salamon is research professor in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is author of Newcomers to Old Towns: Suburbanization of the Heartland.
For more information about Sonya Salamon, visit the Author Page.


"Prairie Patrimony consolidates, refines, advances and grounds recent scholarship that challenges familiar platitudes about family farming and rural life in the United States. . . . No one should doubt the great contribution that Salamon has made to our understanding of American rural life."--American Studies

"[Salamon's] approach yields a depth of information about farming culture not usually found in the literature on rural America."--Choice

"Takes the reader on a cultural tour of a cherished American institution and landscape--midwestern farm families and their farms. With perceptive attention to detail and knowledge borne of first-hand study over many years, [Salamon] skillfully reveals the pervasive imprint of ethnicity. . . . Prairie Patrimony represents one of those rare studies that enrich our social vision and understanding in extraordinary ways."--Glen H. Elder, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Salamon's book is a remarkable contribution to the study of agriculture and culture, and its cross-disciplinary approach will engage scholars in many areas. For historians, it is a splendid illustration that different behaviors between American and immigrant farmers, planted over a century ago in the Middle West, have endured to the present."--Jon Gjerde, University of California, Berkeley