In the last half of the 19th century, millions of European immigrants settled on the
great prairie that stretched from Indiana to the Dakotas, and from Canada to Texas.
In this exercise, photos from 100 years ago help you see what a harsh environment the
Prairie was, and some of the practical ways settlers coped with the conditions. If you
look closely, they also show you how the settlers saw themselves and the lives they
wanted to lead. These self-images were some of their most important possessions,
for they helped them confront the constant limitations the environment imposed.
Using the photos, first think about your own view of settlers' lives, and then practice
taking the perspective of different historical actors as you make 'Lantern Slide Shows'
about Prairie Life.