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

By Donald B. Marti | Go to book overview

nomics committees had found various ways to support the Red Cross, and criticized Herbert Hoover's Food Administration for not sufficiently involving rural women in food conservation efforts. In addition, the committee condemned the government for encouraging cigarette smoking among soldiers, lamented the decline of rural hospitality, and asked the National Grange to provide $1,000 for the committee's work. The committee got its money. The appropriation strengthened it only slightly but started home economics on the way to becoming a well-financed and consistently active part of the Order. And the committee's laments about smoking and rural hospitality signaled another change. The focus of home economics had broadened to include the moral and social interests of the earlier woman's work committees.61 The committee continued to take a broad view of its charge in 1919, when it again lamented that the cigarette habit, which was as bad as drinking, had been "fastened upon the country during the war." One form of intemperance had ended, legally, but another had taken its place. The committee also urged people to remember the habits of thrift that the war had encouraged, to be sure that children got enough animal foods despite their rising cost, and to resist the "extravagance and immodesty" then fashionable in women's clothing.62

By that time, home economics committees, like the preceding woman's work committees, had become vehicles for Grange women's various causes. Unlike their predecessors, the home economics committees began with a fairly narrow, domestic definition of their subject. They soon cast a wider net, just as their predecessors had done, but the scientific study of homemaking remained at the core of their interest. The committee's leaders thought that home economics could liberate women from mindless drudgery. From their very beginning, Grangers had said that drudgery was the greatest problem in farm women's lives. Finally, in the first few years of the twentieth century, they had found its solution.


NOTES
1.
Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Session of the Indiana State Grange ( Indianapolis: State Grange, 1874), 32.
2.
Grosh, Mentor in the Granges and Homes of Patrons of Husbandry, 388.
3.
Journal of Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Session of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, 1880, committee reports.
4.
Minutes of Olive Grange No. 189 for January 28, 1888, in Indiana Historical Society.
5.
Smith, The History of the Iowa State Grange, 5-6.
6.
Journal of Proceedings of the Thirty-Third Session of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, 1899, 6-9.

-102-

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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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