The Wherefore Investigating Company

" marriage and the law of inheritance as it exists in society to-day stand directly in the way of the fulfillment of the request that the will of the Father shall be done on earth as it is in heaven."
—Nothing Like it

"I have been mingling with the prophets and teachers of the new gospel... the gospel of bread and butter for all, the gospel of good homes, and good clothes for all; the gospel of equal opportunities for all, not all for one while the ninety and nine go hungry and cold."

"I have never studied the philosophy of anarchism as explained by professed anarchists... but I do not believe in what the public calls anarchy, any more than I accepted the slaveholder's interpretation of what an abolitionist was when I worked for the freedom of the black slave."

Now here is a real humdinger of a story; I consider it closer to a "true" novel than the previous two works by Lois Waisbrooker that I have transcribed—Alice Vale [1869] and Nothing Like It [1875]—which are basically sermons strung together on the slenderest of plots. While The Wherefore Investigating Company [1894] has its own share of sermons, nonetheless the plot is meaty, and as literature the work is the best of the three.

When Lois Waisbrooker took over the periodical Foundation Principles, she made serial installments of WIC the centerpiece and selling point of the first twelve issues [1893-1894]. Then, through her own "Independent Pub. Co." she published the novel in book form. Unfortunately, I could not find even a scan of the bound edition online, and only three copies are registered in WorldCat, which are located in libraries many miles from my home. Fortunately, scans of the aforementioned issues of FP exist online, and it did not take me long to decide to produce my own digital edition based on them; the downside being, obviously, that any revisions which may have appeared in the book will not appear here.

The text is taken from the following scans:

The scans are in poor condition, having been taken from old microfilms, and the originals are riddled with typographical errors, so that a fair bit of effort was required to work up the OCR text before it was in any condition to be spell-checked and proofread. Although I chose to standardize spelling to a certain extent, I did retain some forms that were common at the time.

So here it is: the master HTML version, the home-brew Kindle version, and the actual Amazon publication.

On a historical note: One of the plot lines, involving the evictions of settlers in northwestern Iowa, was based on an actual incident. In the spirit of John Wherefore, I studied a number of historical sources, discovered a fascinating but complex story, and presented my conclusions here. I wish to note especially the excellent M. A. thesis by James P. Reed for the University of Nebraska Omaha in 1974, and what effort must have gone into its making at the time. The Internet allowed me to put together in a few days an article that would have been impossible when I was in college, unless I had applied successfully for grants to pay for considerable travel and time, for results which I doubt would have turned out any better.

June 9, 2021

ffred's nearly-forgotten treasures