(1) THE TRAIL-MAKERS OF THE MIDDLE BORDER, although not the first book to be written, is the first of a series in chronological order, and deals with the removal of Deacon Richard Garland and his family from Maine to Wisconsin in 1850, and to some degree with my father's boyhood in Oxford County, Maine. He is the chief figure in this narrative which comes down to 1865, where my own memory of him and his world begins.
(2) A SON OF THE MIDDLE BORDER, the second number of the series, is personal in outlook but continues the history of my mother's family the McClintocks, and the Garlands as they move to Iowa and later to Dakota and finally to California. The book ends in 1893 with my father and mother returning to my native village, and the selection of Chicago as my own headquarters.
(3) A DAUGHTER OF THE MIDDLE BORDER takes up the family history at the point where the second volume ends and chronicles my marriage to Zulime Taft, who naturally plays a leading role in the story. The death of my mother and the coming of my two daughters carry the volume forward. It closes with the mustering out of my pioneer father at the age of eighty-four, and the beginning of the World War. My home was still in Chicago and the old house in West Salem our summer homestead.
(4) In BACK-TRAILERS FROM THE MIDDLE BORDER, the fourth and last of the series, I record the removal of my family to the East, a reversal of the family progress. As the lives of Richard Garland, Isabelle Garland, Don Carlos Taft and Lucy Foster Taft embody the spirit of the pioneers so their grandchildren and my own later life illustrate the centripetal forces of the Nation. In taking the back-trail we are as typical of our time as our fathers were of theirs.
See also A Daughter of the Middle Border, 1922 Pulitzer Prize winner in Biography, which written second in this series.