Primarily letters written by Garland to Zulime Mauna (Taft) Garland, Mary Isabel (Garland) Johnson Lord, and Constance (Garland)
Harper Doyle. The letters chiefly contain biographical information on Garland: his literary activities while on the lecture
circuit, books and articles in progress, work with publishers, and general family matters. His business correspondence is
concentrated in the years 1930-1940.
Born in 1860 and raised on farms in Wisconsin and the mid-west, Hamlin Garland was provided early on with the practical experience
of farm and mid-western life that was to become the foundation for his realistic style of writing. Both his fictional and
non-fictional accounts of farm life were hailed by the literary world as thankful deviations from the romantic norms. In many
ways, Garland was ahead of his time. Not only did his view of farm life as oppressive contrast with his contemporaries, but
also his opinions regarding the status of women seem more likely to stem from the 1970's than the 1870's. Many critics of
Garland lament what they see as his subsequent abandonment of the realistic fire of his youth after his marriage to Zulime
Mauna (Taft) Garland in 1899. Others attribute the mellowing of his reformist fires to the natural mellowing of age. Still
others state that he never gave up his radical views in favor of more mainstream (and hence more publishable and profitable)
ideas; he merely presented his realistic views in a more subtle manner. However, none can contest the fact that Garland's
later work certainly seemed to look back on mid-western farm life rather selectively and with at least rose-tined, if not
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