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Illinois, 1788

I'm a big fan of Project Gutenberg. For the uninitiated, the site collects public domain works - literature, periodicals, historical arcana - which tireless volunteers lovingly transcribe and reproduce for anyone and everyone to read. I subscribe to their RSS feed, which conveniently notifies me which new works (literally, dozens per week) have been posted. So last week I thought it was interesting, while thoroughly enjoying So Long, See You Tomorrow, William Maxwell's great novel of Central Illinois in the 1920s, to see this come on on Project Gutenberg: Narrative of the Captivity of William Biggs among the Kickapoo Indians in Illinois in 1788. In the plainspoken English of the day, Biggs describes being captured, held hostage and ultimately ransomed by a small group of Kickapoo. It's a fascinating glimpse into everyday life of a long-vanished Indian tribe from an time when white settlers were still very rare in the Illinois Territory, exactly thirty years before it achieved statehood.

October 13, 2008 in Books | Permalink

Comments

I love that title... hmm, how can I work it into my current reading thread?

Posted by: Kristin at Oct 14, 2008 2:17:53 PM