Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890-1930

Overview


The Progressive Era, falling between the conspicuous materialism of the Gay Nineties and the excesses of the Roaring Twenties, promoted a vision of America united by an emphasis on science and progressive reform. The zeal to modernize business, government, and social relations extended to farm families and the ways women defined their roles.
 
In this study of the expert advice offered by the domestic-economy movement, Marilyn Irvin Holt ...
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Overview


The Progressive Era, falling between the conspicuous materialism of the Gay Nineties and the excesses of the Roaring Twenties, promoted a vision of America united by an emphasis on science and progressive reform. The zeal to modernize business, government, and social relations extended to farm families and the ways women defined their roles.
 
In this study of the expert advice offered by the domestic-economy movement, Marilyn Irvin Holt argues that women were not passive receptors of these views. Seeing their place in agriculture as multifaceted and important, they eagerly accepted improved education and many modern appliances but often rejected suggestions that conflicted with their own views of the rewards and values of farm life. Drawing on a wide range of sources—government surveys, expert testimony, and contemporary farm journals—many presenting accounts in farm women’s own words, Holt carefully contrasts the goals of reformers with those of farm families. Anyone seeking a better understanding of the role of women in agriculture will find this a rewarding book.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American History

“[Holt] deserves particular credit for her attention to non-Anglo participants, who have often been neglected in similar studies. She also merits praise for the inclusion of many photographs, several of which illustrate the endeavors of non-white women.”—Journal of American History
Nebraska History

“A well-documented and very readable account of the lives of farm women during this period. . . . Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890-1930, offers more than just a description of the numerous programs and resources that the ‘domestic economy movement’ promoted. More important, it is an account of the rural women who sorted through those reforms and adopted those new technologies and techniques that they identified as beneficial for themselves and their families.”—Ann Billesbach, Nebraska History

Historian

“Holt’s study provides a readable history of developments in a significant part of rural women’s lives—the domestic-economy movement—as well as treating topics that allow better understanding of rural life in general.”—Historian
Historian

“Holt’s study provides a readable history of developments in a significant part of rural women’s lives—the domestic-economy movement—as well as treating topics that allow better understanding of rural life in general.”—Historian

Journal of American History

“[Holt] deserves particular credit for her attention to non-Anglo participants, who have often been neglected in similar studies. She also merits praise for the inclusion of many photographs, several of which illustrate the endeavors of non-white women.”—Journal of American History

Nebraska History

“A well-documented and very readable account of the lives of farm women during this period. . . . Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890-1930, offers more than just a description of the numerous programs and resources that the ‘domestic economy movement’ promoted. More important, it is an account of the rural women who sorted through those reforms and adopted those new technologies and techniques that they identified as beneficial for themselves and their families.”—Ann Billesbach, Nebraska History

Library Journal
Holt offers an interesting look at the lives of farm wives at the close of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. It wasn't roughing it like earlier pioneer women, but it wasn't as cushy as microwave ovens and instant foods either. These ladies worked! Holt also gets points for covering minority women. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803224360
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2006
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 1,419,825
  • Product dimensions: 0.55 (w) x 5.25 (h) x 8.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Marilyn Irvin Holt is the author of The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America, available in a Bison Books edition.
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Table of Contents

1 The farm scene 13
2 A life of domestic economy 39
3 A need for organization 65
4 Better babies and rural health 95
5 "I wouldn't leave the farm, girls" 141
6 When the best is better 169
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