By Patricia A. Donohoe
In language that resonates with energy and sweetness, this compilation of non-public letters written from 1844 to 1864 tells the compelling tale of debatable newspaper editor Will Tomlinson, his opinionated spouse (Eliza Wylie Tomlinson), and their childrens (Byers and Belle) within the treacherous borderlands round that “abolitionist hellhole,” Ripley, Ohio. The Printer’s Kiss comprises lots of Tomlinson’s columns that seemed within the Ripley Bee, the neighborhood Ripley newspaper, and excerpts from a brief tale within the Columbian journal. It positive aspects lots of his letters to his kin and a awesome variety of letters from Eliza and the youngsters to Tomlinson whereas he used to be away in the course of the Civil conflict, serving variously as quartermaster sergeant for the 5th Ohio, as captain of an organization of counterinsurgents in West Virginia, as an autonomous scout and undercover agent in Kentucky, as a nurse on a health facility boat, and as a compositor for the Cincinnati Gazette. in the course of his profession, Tomlinson released ten newspapers in Ohio and one in Iowa, the place he lived from 1854 to 1860. defined by way of his contemporaries as remarkable and erratic, coarse and literary, Tomlinson left a path of ink overlaying themes starting from antislavery sentiment to spiritualist fervor and partisan politics. His own writings exhibit the fellow at the back of the click, disillusioned via his weak spot for alcohol and through Eliza’s refusal to condone his plan to elevate a Negro corporation. His eloquent descriptions discomfort with the soreness of status fourteen hours at a compositor’s desk, capturing farm animals to feed squaddies, and having to protect himself opposed to accusations of adultery. Tomlinson used to be fatally shot via a Kentucky Copperhead in 1863.
Eliza’s letters pulse with the fears of a Union family members searching for slave hunters, Morgan’s Raiders, and undesirable information from the battlefield. Like her husband, she freely condemns inept politicians and southern rebels. She additionally questions her husband’s army competence, yet she often writes approximately household matters—the young ones, associates, and funds. The intimate info in those letters will have interaction readers with suspenseful money owed of survival within the borderlands through the Civil battle, camp lifestyles, and guerrilla struggle and statement on political and army occasions, journalism within the mid-1800s, and the jobs of ladies and youngsters. most significantly, readers could be uncovered to the tale of ways one articulate and constant Union kinfolk refused to renounce desire while confronted with tragic disruption.