The Harvester – Gene Stratton-Porter
Mrs. Gene Stratton-Porter’s novel is an illustration of the harmony and intimacy which does rightly exist between a man and a forest. In ‘ The Harvester ‘ she has not only dramatized, but proved the purifying and preservative forces that are always present and predominant in such a situation. This is why the story is so popular. It is utterly simple, nothing in the plot to appeal to morbid interest or curiosity. We really prefer what is good and clean in man and in nature if we can get it portrayed in fiction.
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Short biography of the author (from Wikipedia):
She was born Geneva Grace Stratton in Wabash County, Indiana near Lagro. She was the twelfth and last child born to Mary and Mark Stratton. They had a farm. Early on, her family shortened her name to Geneve, and she later shortened it further to Gene.
Despite not finishing high school, Stratton became an avid reader and a lifelong scholar of ecology and wildlife.
Stratton married Charles Dorwin Porter in 1886. Of Scots-Irish descent, he was the son of a doctor and became a pharmacist, with stores in Geneva and Fort Wayne, Indiana. They had one daughter, Jeannette, born in 1887.
To be closer to his businesses, the Porters built a large home in Geneva. They named the Queen Anne-style rustic home as “Limberlost Cabin,” after the nearby swamp where Stratton-Porter liked to explore.
She also spent much time photographing in the Limberlost Swamp. She set two of her most popular novels here, and it was the subject of many of her works of natural history. She became known as “The Bird Lady” and “The Lady of the Limberlost” to friends and readers.
Between 1888 and 1910, local farmers encouraged agricultural development by draining the wetlands using a steam-powered dredge. The “reclaimed” area was cultivated as farmland from 1910 to 1992. Because its habitat had been disrupted, it frequently flooded, destroying crops along with the flora and fauna documented in Stratton-Porter’s books.
In 1992, the marshland was purchased by five cooperating foundation and organizations. They renamed this section as the Loblolly Wetlands and began work to restore the land and habitat.
After the Limberlost Swamp was developed, Stratton-Porter sought new inspiration. In 1912, she used profits from her best-selling novels to purchase 120 acres on Sylvan Lake in Rome City (Noble County), Indiana. She constructed her beloved “Cabin at Wildflower Woods,” which she also called “Limberlost North”.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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