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

By Donald B. Marti | Go to book overview

7
Remaining Tasks and Recent
Changes

Grange women reached some deeply satisfying milestones in the years around 1920. The nineteenth amendment secured the votes that some of them had pursued for half a century; the eighteenth amendment imposed prohibition; and home economics departments were proliferating in agricultural colleges. Long struggles concluded, and some women felt that an era of reform had ended with them. "Prohibitionists and Equal Suffragists fell silent," Charlotte Perkins Gilman observed.1 But Dora H. Stockman, a leading Granger from the 1910s through the 1940s, denied that success had brought the women of her Order to the end of their progressive history. Liquor had been driven underground for a time thanks partly to Grange women, but the battle against cigarettes had just begun. Women could vote, but the Grange example of equality between the genders had not yet influenced cooperative marketing organizations, in which women took little part. Grange women still had plenty to do, Stockman insisted, even after winning some of their most protracted battles.2

An influential historian makes a broadly similar point. The year 1920 really is an "obvious benchmark in the history of women in politics in the United States," Nancy Cott recognizes, but too much emphasis on the suffrage amendment, she cautions, can obscure some important continuities, notably the fact that women characteristically pursued public ends through private, voluntary associations after 1920, just as they had through most of the nineteenth century. Cott cites a 1933 study, which suggests that women may actually have been "overorganized" then, and she calls its appended list of women's organizations "staggering." Clearly, reform-minded women did not believe that their tra

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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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