The Song of the Cardinal – Gene Stratton-Porter
“The Song of the Cardinal” is a fascinating story of the life of a redbird, or Kentucky cardinal, as it is popularly called, who is born in the valley of the Wabash. The author possesses the soul of an artist and a poet, which enables her to invest the story with the charm of a rich and vivid imagination; while her knowledge of the habits and peculiarities of the redbird and the love she feels for the cardinal family impart a living interest to her work that makes the reader enter into the joys and tribulations, the triumphs, failures, and final victory of the hero, with much the same personal interest one feels in the leading figures of a well-told romance of life. Into the web and woof of the story the author has also woven a beautiful picture of an old man and woman who through the song and the presence of the cardinal are brought again into the loving, sympathetic nearness to each other that marked the golden days of their early married life.
The Song of the Cardinal.
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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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