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Making the Heartland Quilt

Making the Heartland Quilt

A Geographical History of Settlement and Migration in Early-Nineteenth-Century Illinois

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Douglas K. Meyer

$35.00

Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
978-0-8093-3514-5
354 pages, 6 x 9, 67 illustrations
03/25/2016

 

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About the Book

In Making the Heartland Quilt, Douglas K. Meyer reconstructs the settlement patterns of thirty-three immigrant groups and confirms the emergence of discrete culture regions and regional way stations. Meyer argues that midcontinental Illinois symbolizes a historic test strip of the diverse population origins that unfolded during the Great Migration. Basing his research on the 1850 U.S. manuscript schedules, Meyer dissects the geographical configurations of twenty-three native and ten foreign-born adult male immigrant groups who peopled Illinois. His historical geographical approach leads to the comprehension of a new and clearer map of settlement and migration history in the state.

 
Meyer finds that both cohesive and mixed immigrant settlements were established. Balkan-like immigrant enclaves or islands were interwoven into evolving local, regional, and national settlement networks. The midcontinental location of Illinois, its water and land linkages, and its lengthy north-south axis enhanced cultural diversity. The barrier effect of Lake Michigan contributed to the convergence and mixing of immigrants. Thus, Meyer demonstrates, Illinois epitomizes midwestern dichotomies: northern versus southern; native-born versus foreign-born; rural versus urban; and agricultural versus manufacturing.

Authors/Editors

Douglas K. Meyer is a professor emeritus of geography at Eastern Illinois University. He is a coauthor of both Common Houses in America’s Small Towns: The Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley and Pictorial Landscape History of Charleston, Illinois. Since his retirement in July, 2000, he has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand.  His passion, however, remains his English cottage garden with its azaleas, rhododendrons, hostas, daylilies, oriental lilies, and Japanese maples.