In Brief: Writing Home: A Quaker Immigrant on the Ohio Frontier; The Letters of Emma Botham Alderson
Reviewed by John Bond
April 1, 2022
Edited by Donald Ingram Ulin. Bucknell University Press, 2020. 548 pages. $160/hardcover or eBook.
Writing Home offers readers a firsthand account of the life of Emma Alderson, an otherwise unexceptional English immigrant on the Ohio frontier in mid-nineteenth-century America, who documented the years preceding her death with astonishing detail and insight. Her convictions as a Quaker offer unique perspectives on racism, slavery, and abolition; presidential elections; various religious and utopian movements; and the practices of everyday life in a young country. Notes situate the letters in relation to their critical, biographical, literary, and historical contexts. The editor discusses the relationship between Alderson’s letters and her sister Mary Howitt’s Our Cousins in Ohio, a remarkable instance of transatlantic literary collaboration. Writing Home offers an opportunity for studying immigrant correspondence.