Harvest Story: Recollections of Old-Time Threshermen (Paperback)
The Harvest Story depicts the life of rural American threshermen. This collection of first-person narratives chronicles the eyewitness accounts of people who threshed grain with steam engines. The book selects anecdotes from over 50 volumes of material published in The Iron-Men Album Magazine and arranges them in a coherent recitation. The result is a story of hard, honest work, of heartfelt cooperation and of triumph not unmarred by tragedy. Readers hear the recollections of those who pitched the bundles of grain onto the horse-drawn wagons, unloaded these bundles into the threshing machine and saw the stream of clean wheat cascade from the grain auger. Readers encounter the wit and humor that characterized yesteryear's harvests. They learn about the vast industries that supported the agricultural enterprise, and they discover the dangers posed by mechanical equipment. The Harvest Story concludes by examining the birth and development of a movement to rescue the agrarian past from oblivion. This book captures authentic voices from the era of steam-powered threshing and offers readable interpretation and explanation, including detailed appendices.
About the Author(s):
Born on a farm in northwestern Indiana, Dr. Robert T. Rhode traveled with his parents to the Central States Threshermen's Reunion at Pontiac, Illinois every summer from the time he was 1 year old. There, he came to appreciate the North American agricultural heritage. His great uncle ran steam traction engines; his father grew up during the steam era and helped his uncle run engines; and his mother remembered playing on steam engines parked in the factory yard of the Keck-Gonnerman Company, manufacturers of threshing equipment, in her hometown of Mt. Vernon, Indiana. Rhode earned his baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees in English from the Indiana University School of Music. His Ph.D. is in early American literature, and he is a recipient of the Indiana University Lieber Award for Distinguished Teaching by an Associate Instructor as well as the NKU Alumni Association's Strongest Influence Award. Rhode has taught at Northern Kentucky University since 1981, and he directed NKU's Honors Program for gifted students for 11 years. His specialties include the literature and history of the steam era, Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman. He has published 50 articles on agricultural literature and history and over 30 articles on other subjects. He has co-authored two books on effective writing. In 1997, Rhode was promoted to the rank of full professor. Rhode is the owner of a 65-horsepower 1923 J. I. Case agricultural traction engine (serial number 35654), and he regularly exhibits it at threshing reunions.