Yesterday Today: Life in the Ozarks, Catherine S. Barker’s 1941 book drawing on her encounters and experiences as a federal social worker in the backwoods of the Ozarks in the 1930s, has been reviewed in the Missouri Historical Review.

“Unlike Vance Randolph and other contemporaries whose work is marked by rural romanticism, Barker offers an unvarnished account of life in the Ozarks through its unflinching depiction of rural poverty. Although her book has largely been overlooked in the years since her death in 1961, Barker’s account offers a rare glimpse of a pivotal time in the Ozarks for those who wish to better understand one of the most misunderstood regions in America.”

Yesterday Today has been reprinted by the University of Arkansas Press as part of the Chronicles of the Ozarks Series. This edition is edited and introduced by historian J. Blake Perkins, an Ozarks native, and assistant professor and chair of history and political science at Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

Chronicles of the Ozarks

The Ozark books of the Depression era played a crucial role in establishing the simplistic and reductionist stereotypes, both positive and negative, of Ozarkers and the Ozarks. It is for that reason that the University of Arkansas Press launched the Chronicles of the Ozarks, a reprint series that will make available some of the era’s Ozark books with introductions and editorial notes that place each book and its author against the backdrop of the era and its popular assumptions and myths of life in the Ozarks. The series is edited by Brooks Blevins, who is widely recognized as the foremost scholar of Ozarks history. His is the Noel Boyd Professor of Ozarks Studies at Missouri State University.

Missouri Historical Review

The Missouri Historical Review, an award-winning scholarly quarterly, has served as the cornerstone of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s publication program since 1906. This richly illustrated journal features current scholarship on all facets of the state’s history.