Friday, March 28, 2014

Telling HerStory 2014: Women of the Northern Plains

The Book:

Barbara Handy-Marchello's book Women of the Northern Plains. Gender & Settlement on the Homestead Frontier 1870-1930

Today's book is one I featured last year for Women's History Month. The following is excerpted from that post.

What's it about:

From "Women of the Plains uncovers the significant and changing roles of Dakota farm women who were true partners to their husbands, their efforts marking the difference between success and failure for their families."

Why you should read it:

We tend to downplay the ability to find information about our farm ancestor's lives by stating "they were only farmers" like that means automatically there would be no records. Assuming this would be wrong. This book is a great example of what genealogically rich sources are out there.

Just a few of the sources in this book include:

  • Interviews
  • Dairies and journals
  • Pioneer interviews (conducted by the WPA)
  • Records and interviews  from women's organizations such as the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs 
  • Memoirs
The author also used other types of materials such as  histories, newspapers, and  government publications.

Additional resources:
  • Fink, Deborah. Agrarian Women: Wives and Mothers in Rural Nebraska, 1880-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.
  • Jensen, Joan M. Loosening the Bonds: Mid-atlantic Farm Women, 1750-1850. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. 
  • Lauters, Amy M. More Than a Farmer's Wife: Voices of American Farm Women, 1910-1960. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2009. 
  • Pickle, Linda S. Contented Among Strangers: Rural German-Speaking Women and Their Families in the Nineteenth-Century Midwest. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996. 
  • Walker, Melissa. All We Knew Was to Farm: Rural Women in the Upcountry South, 1919-1941. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. 

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