Rachel Calof was a Russian Jew who traveled to America to an arranged marriage in rural North Dakota. In the 1930’s, when she was in her sixties, she wrote her story in Yiddish, looking back on her rough life on the plains in the 1890’s amidst harsh conditions. Her writing was discovered nearly 30 years after her death. It was translated and published mainly for the family, but historical researchers noticed the story and added scholarly notes as an addendum to the book. Many readers have been fascinated by Rachel’s well-written, detailed, and moving account of her life not only as one of the rural poor, but as a Jewish woman surviving on the lonely plains trying her best to keep her faith.
Rachel Calof’s Story is a learning experience that was almost lost – stored away in an old trunk, unseen, unnoticed for so many years. It is fortunate that Rachel’s daughter found her mother’s writing and understood the value of it, so that over thirty years after Rachel’s death she is able to tell us a story of perseverance and fortitude amidst the history of the Midwest. It is never too late.