Eickhoff, Diane

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Eickhoff, Diane

PERSONAL:

Born in MN; married Aaron Barnhart (a television critic). Education: Graduated from the University of Minnesota.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Kansas City, MO. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, educator. Worked variously as a teacher in Appalachia and Westchester County, NY; a public relations director for a Chicago-area hospital; and editor in language arts for an educational publisher.

MEMBER:

Kansas Humanities Council (living history presenter).

WRITINGS:

Frontier Freedom Fighter: The Story of Clarina Nichols (sound recording), Quindaro Press (Kansas City, KS), 2004.

Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women's Rights, Quindaro Press (Kansas City, KS), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Diane Eickhoff grew up in Minnesota and completed her university studies there. Her love of history and education inspired her to teach, and she spent time teaching in such diverse parts of the country as Appalachia and Westchester County, New York. She also served as a public relations director for a hospital outside of Chicago, and spent many years working as an editor for an educational publishing firm that specialized in language arts. In 1997, she moved from Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Aaron Barnhart, a television critic. Once she had settled in, Eickhoff became involved in the Kansas Humanities Council, for whom she presents living history sketches. However, it was the trip from Chicago to Kansas City that truly inspired her, as the beautiful landscape led her to research the history of the region. The area piqued her interest, due to the extensive battles that took place during the Civil War. Eickhoff was conscious of the popularity of historic films and books in recent years, and yet was struck by the fact that many interesting historic tales had yet to be unearthed, or if they were known, had yet to be shared with the general public.

Eickhoff first learned of Clarina Nichols from a museum director. She was intrigued by the fact that the last serious research done on Nichols had taken place during the 1970s. However, the project was put on the back burner as Eickhoff faced a battle against cancer. Only when she had recovered her strength did she seriously consider working on the Nichols biography, but then she attacked with all of her energy. She felt the market needed a more serious, literary biography about a strong woman, and Clarina Nichols seemed to be the perfect subject, particularly given the fact that the women's movement that took place in the south prior to the Civil War had never received much attention from researchers. The result was Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women's Rights, the story of an early feminist. Nichols stood strong at a time when women had no rights, and when a widow or divorced woman would find herself struggling, with no property or money in her name, often losing her own children. Having faced such difficulties herself, Nichols became a journalist and took control of her own life to the best of her abilities. Carol Haggas, in a review for Booklist, commented: ‘Eickhoff's exhaustive research and extensive scholarship results in a sweeping biography.’ Theresa McDevitt, writing for Library Journal, stated: ‘Eickhoff has produced a readable treatment of this important feminist, based on solid research."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Revolutionary Heart: The Life of Clarina Nichols and the Pioneering Crusade for Women's Rights, p. 36.

Library Journal, March 15, 2006, Theresa McDevitt, review of Revolutionary Heart, p. 80.

ONLINE

Armchair Interviews Web site,http://armchairinterviews.com/ (November 7, 2007), Jean M. Holewa, review of Revolutionary Heart.

Christian Feminism Today Web site,http://www.eewc.com/ (November 7, 2007), author profile.