Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Linda H. Matthews  

Pen Name: None


Born: in Portland, Oregon

-- Website --
-- Linda H. Matthews on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Linda has lived for many years in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Matthews grew up in a modest middle-class family. Her mother was a first-grade teacher and her father worked for the FHA. Linda graduated from Reed College and then studied at Tufts University before moving to the Chicago area, where she has lived most of her adult life. After brief interludes teaching medieval literature at Northwestern University and managing a small Chicago bookstore, Linda co-founded ''Chicago Review Press'' along with her husband, Curt. She was a publisher there until 2005, when she stepped down in order to research and write ''Middling Folk''. Linda enjoys contributing articles to historical newsletters, practicing yoga, and working in her vegetable garden. She currently resides in Evanston, Illinois.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Middling Folk: Three Seas, Three Centuries, One Scots-Irish Family
ISBN: 1556529694

Chicago Review Press. 2009

Historians and biographers have traditionally favored stories of the powerful and the trends they set in motion. More recently, they’ve spotlighted the neglected lives of the disenfranchised and dispossessed. “But,” asks Linda H. Matthews, descendant of the pragmatic, adaptable, and lively Hammill family, “who tells the stories of the people in the middle?”

Spanning three centuries and three seas, from the bluffs of Scotland and Ireland to colonial Chesapeake Bay and Virginia, then across the expanding nation into the Pacific Northwest, Middling Folk makes the compelling case that the experiences of the middle classes--those who “quietly, century after century, conducted the business and built the livelihoods that made their societies prosper”--reveal a great deal about the founding of the United States and the ways in which customs and traditions are perpetuated through the generations.

Matthews combines meticulous research and deft storytelling to show how the Scots-Irish Hammills--millers, wagon makers, and blacksmiths--lived out their lives against a backdrop of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and westward expansion. Readers will come away with a newfound respect for the ordinary families who helped shape this country and managed to hold their own through turbulent times.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)