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Nance Adkins

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"Nance Adkins" is a poem by L. Frank Baum. It was first published in The Aberdeen Pioneer on 1 March 1890, (where it was signed with Baum's stage name, Louis F. Baum), and then reprinted in Baum's 1898 collection By the Candelabra's Glare.

The twenty-stanza poem should be read in the context of the crop failures that afflicted the Dakotas in 1889 and 1890. It tells the story of a farmer's wife who secretly applies for seed wheat, when her husband's pride prevents him from accepting charity. In so doing, she saves her family from starvation.

The poem is written is a heavy dialect:

"Yes," says he, "I know, old woman,
What it's right I orter do;
But the pluck is all gone from me —
Nothin's left ter buckle to
"That can keep my wife an' children
From starvation's boney grasp,
An' the future's dark an' dreary,
Ruin's come to us at last!"

In the 1898 collection, the poem is accompanied by an illustration by N. Guy Chilberg.

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