For Immediate Release:

August 24, 2009


   EMPORIA, KS: Rarely are detailed glimpses of 19th century life in the Flint Hills available to the 21st century reader.  A recently published book, “A Window on Flint Hills Folklife: The Mardin Ranch Diaries 1862-1863,” gives readers just that glimpse into early life in Chase and Lyon counties. Published by The Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University, this book allows readers to travel back to the days of farming and stock raising, pasture burning, housework, and other daily activities during the early settling of the Flint Hills.

   Through the diaries of husband and wife, Elisha and Elizabeth Mardin, the daily routines and social customs the early 1860s come to life. These diaries are some of the earliest surviving primary source materials available for the study of the Flint Hills.

“In addition to their historical value, these documents also possess intrinsic human interest, providing glimpses into such things as friendships, entertainments, illnesses and death, relationships with the Kansa Indians, and the effect of the Civil war in an area seemingly remote from the battlefields,” said Jim Hoy, who edited the diaries.

Included in the book are four surviving courtship letters between Elizabeth and Elisha along with numerous illustrations, photographs, and maps. Hoy also includes a helpful glossary of people and places after each diary.

Copies of “A Window on Flint Hills Folklife: The Mardin Ranch Diaries 1862-1863” are available from The Center for Great Plains Studies, Campus Box 4040, 1200 Commercial St., Emporia, KS  66801, 620-341-5574 or The cost is $10 plus shipping and handling and, for Kansas residents, sales tax. More information about this book and other CGPS activities is available at