By Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. Xi + 164 pp, foreword, photgraphs, notes, index. $24.95 Hardcover.
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Frontier Children is an illustrated description of life for children on the American frontier. After an excellent introduction on childhood on the frontier, the sources available, the nature of photography at the time, and the intellectual context of childhood in the time period covered, the authors have constructed a descriptive text, which brings a sense of immediacy to their topic by heavy use of the words of the times. That text is supplemented by several hundred well chosen contemporary photographs. The book covers children at work and at play; in danger and in school; how they dressed and where they lived. The presentation is very interesting and informative. Many older readers will probably recognize some of their own experiences or those they heard their parents describe. Academic historians will probably wish that the authors had analyzed and interpreted their descriptions more.