Women of the Grange: Mutuality and Sisterhood in Rural America, 1866-1920

By Donald B. Marti | Go to book overview

2
Teachers, Farmers, and Famous Grangers

The women who held Grange offices and contributed to the Order's programs and publications varied in obvious ways. Most of them farmed, but a substantial minority did not. Many were "prominent" and "well-off," as a local historian described the founders of one Minnesota Grange. Others were small, landowning, commercial farmers or were modestly prosperous townspeople. A handful of them achieved regional or national fame; thousands more were notable only in their local Granges. A few ventured radical criticisms of American society, and especially of its ordinary gender relationships; more were generally conventional but deeply committed to women's rights; and another large group focused on women's domestic concerns. The leaders were far from homogeneous, but they varied within a limited social and cultural range. They were mostly middle-class, self-consciously modern, Protestant, native-born Americans. Although they were especially concerned about women's problems, they refused to be confined to women's offices and subjects. Their biographies and inferences that can be drawn from their pronouncements about the Order illustrate their differences and shared attributes.1

Those inferences are helpful because Grange women rarely wrote about themselves directly or in any detail. A few described their work, or complained about some problem, but they did not provide facts about their educations, religious experiences and affiliations, marriages, or economic situations. Often, in contributing to Grange journals, they refused even to say who they were. That reticence, and the indifference of local historians, journalists, and others who might have written about them, makes biographical information about all but a few Grange women

-35-

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Women of the Grange: Mutuality and Sisterhood in Rural America, 1866-1920
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Women's Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 13
  • 1- Graces, Lecturers, and The Changing "Appearance Of Equality" 19
  • Notes 31
  • 2- Teachers, Farmers, and Famous Grangers 35
  • Notes 51
  • 3- Literary Entertainment 55
  • Notes 69
  • 4 - Drudgery and Home Economics 73
  • Notes 85
  • 5- Women's Committees 89
  • Notes 102
  • Notes 120
  • 7- Remaining Tasks and Recent Changes 125
  • Notes 138
  • Conclusion 141
  • Note on Sources 145
  • Index 153
  • About the Author 159
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