CONTACT: SARAH WALZ
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2012; fax (319) 335-2055
New UI Press book recounts Minnesotan's search for 'Salt Lantern'
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A jar of sea salt and Victorian mementos launch a
Minnesota man's search to find his ancestors in a new book from the University
of Iowa Press that's part memoir, part architectural history and part history
of the Upper Midwest.
"Salt Lantern: Traces of an American Family," by William Towner
Morgan, recounts Morgan's search for his family's history, beginning with
his great-grandmother's journey to America in 1855. The trip was commemorated
with a "salt lantern," a jar filled with salt from the Atlantic
Ocean, a drawing of a Victorian house, and other mementos of Great Britain.
Fascinated by the salt Lantern during his fatherless childhood in Pipestone,
Minn., Morgan, now a professor of American studies, used the Victorian
artifact as the starting point to discover his ancestors. His research
took him to England, Scotland, Ireland, Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota,
Iowa and North Dakota.
Morgan's pilgrimage to find the "salt lantern house" led him
on several journeys, both external and internal, and resulted in a multi-faceted
"In this remarkable personal and family history, William Towner
Morgan reminds us of the importance and omnipresence of artifacts in shaping
our daily lives and our perceptions of the past," says award-winning
historian Richard Francaviglia. "[The book should be] required reading
for anyone interested in researching family and community history."
William Towner Morgan is professor of American studies at St. Cloud
State University. He is the co-author of "Light from the Hearth: Central
Minnesota Pioneers and Early Architecture."
"Salt Lantern" is the latest installment of the "American
Land and Life Series" from the UI Press.
"Salt Lantern" is available at bookstores nationwide for $29.95
clothbound and $15.95 in paperback. The book can also be ordered from the
UI Press by calling (319) 384-3808 (for calls within Johnson County) or
1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).
Information is also available at the UI Press website: http://www.uiowa.edu/~uipress/