Mixed Harvest: The Second Great Transformation in the Rural North, 1870-1930

By Hal S. Barron | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION
Change, Continuity, and the Transformations of Rural Life

Consider three incidents:

In 1901, Flemington, the county seat of Hunterdon County in rural New Jersey, macadamized its main road. This was an expensive process that involved the careful placement of different sizes of crushed stone to create a smooth and permanent surface, but under the New Jersey road law of 1891, those costs were shared by the state, the county, and local residents. New Jersey farmers, however, were not big supporters of this law, and those in Hunterdon County had little use for this project. According to their spokesman, the editor of a local paper, much of the demand for the new roads came from urban bicyclists, and public funds were better spent on improving old dirt roads rather than on constructing new stone ones. Turn-of-the-century farmers also had little use for the new automobiles that were beginning to appear on country roads, which at that time were luxury vehicles intended primarily for wealthy townspeople and city dwellers. Thus, when increasing automobile traffic quickly destroyed the surface of the new macadam road, its opponents were jubilant. 1

Responding to a contest sponsored by local merchants during the 1910s, a rural Kansas woman hoped to win $50 for collecting the greatest number of mail-order catalogues. She gathered three hundred of them from relatives,

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Mixed Harvest: The Second Great Transformation in the Rural North, 1870-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Studies in Rural Culture ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction - Change, Continuity, and the Transformations of Rural Life 7
  • Part I - CITIZENS 17
  • 1 - And the Crooked Shall Be Made Straight 19
  • 2 - Teach No More His Neighbor 43
  • Part II - PRODUCERS 79
  • 3 - Bringing Forth Strife 81
  • 4 - To Reap the Whirlwind 107
  • Part III - CONSUMERS 153
  • 5 - with All the Fragrant Powders of the Merchant 155
  • 6 - Not the Bread of Idleness the Rural North and Consumer Culture in the 1920s 193
  • Conclusion 243
  • Notes 247
  • NOTE ON SOURCES 287
  • Index 289
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