Neighborhood Activities–Recreation for Single Women 1921

Hello, again History Lovers,

In a post titled What Is a Home Demonstration Agent? we learned about the important responsibilities home agents had in educating rural housewives about their domestic duties. In another post, Home Demonstration Agent Saves Lives we see that these hardworking agents extended their parameters by helping fill other needs within their area of jurisdiction. Today’s article demonstrates how one agent saw a need for appropriate recreation for a growing segment of the population–the young single professional woman.

Enjoy!

Young Single Businesswomen

Switchboard Workers 1920s

To help solve the recreational problem in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, Miss Jane Hinote, Home Demonstration Agent, organized a businesswoman’s club. Miss Hinote had lived in the county for ten months and had found no form of amusement for the girls other than movies. Eighteen charter members of the club included teachers, nurses, secretaries, stenographers, saleswomen, doctors, and newspaper women. They met together one evening each week in the high school gymnasium. Each member is charged fifty cents annual dues and this provides funds for an athletic instructor and a musician. Athletics, games, and folk dances offer a variety of amusement.

Recreational Activities

Last summer the club members rented a house about a mile and a half out in the country. Some of the girls donated old furniture and others money and the clubhouse looked most inviting when it was finished and ready for occupancy. Sundays were the popular days at the clubhouse, The girls divided themselves into groups so that each Sunday one group acted as hostesses preparing and serving a good Sunday dinner. The afternoons were spent in general good times such as hikes, picnics, boating, and swimming parties.

Dance Competition 1920

During the fall the girls held dancing parties and invited their friends. These were so successful that two benefit dances were planned at which they cleared $150. At Christmas time a Christmas tree was the gift of the club members to the poor children of the neighborhood, each member donating a toy and a warm garment—a cap, stockings, mittens, or sweater. Later these enterprising girls staged a play under professional direction which was repeated in three different localities in the county.

Received Into the National Professional Business Women’s Club

The club has recently been received into the National Professional and Business Women’s Club. The membership has grown to fifty-five and the girls have just opened a new clubhouse in town. A matron is employed to keep the house in running order and act as hostess. One Sunday each month is an open house for the townspeople. The clubhouse has become a center where the girls are learning to know and enjoy each other and their neighbors.

The girls in Jackson, Mo., have recently organized a similar club with a membership of thirty. Both clubs are becoming interested in activities of an educational nature and Miss Hinote says that “if they take hold of the educational work as they have of the recreational, they will be a power in the community.”

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, May 1921, Page 446; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

The Rising Popularity of Roadside Markets

From Strawberry Preserves to Maple Sugar

Hello, again History Lovers,

After falling head over heels in love with the automobile, Americans began road-tripping. And it wasn’t long before rural entrepreneurs found a way to market farm products to passersby. Farmers built stands and started selling homegrown produce from roadside markets, very much like farmer’s markets of today. Some were small with just a few products for sale and others were cooperatives supplied by a number of local farmers offering many different farm products, and of course, all were seasonal.

Mrs. Bess M. Rowe, a journalist for The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women contributed an article in February 1922 on the thriving roadside market industry in Massachusetts. Orchards in the Mt. Nobscot area supplied peaches, apples, and pears for local markets. Area farmers produced strawberries, vegetables, eggs, honey, and dairy products. Some handmade home goods were also available.

Farmer’s market season in my area begins in June and goes through September. After reading this article I will better appreciate the “living history” aspect of today’s farmer’s markets.

Enjoy!

Massachusetts has ideal conditions for the development of roadside markets. Its numerous towns and cities are connected by splendid state roads which make transportation of products easy and also summon a steady stream of automobiles over these roads.

An astonishing variety of products is disposed of by the owners of these roadside markets, anything and everything from strawberry preserves to roastin’ ears, from maple sugar to braided rugs; passing directly from producer to consumer.

Massachusetts road markets are, naturally, concentrated in a few districts where the conditions are especially favorable. One group is located on the historic road from Concord to Lexington, where a constant procession of automobiles follows the route taken by Paul Revere on his famous ride; another group extends along the coast, south of Quincy.

Good Location and Great Produce

In planning to open a roadside market, certain points in location must be considered if the enterprise is to be a success. As the main dependence is on automobile trade, the market must be located on a road where automobile traffic is heavy and at a point where automobiles can easily park.

Another important point is such arrangement of products and signs or placards to attract the favorable attention of passersby. The most successful stands in Massachusetts have done this by means of attractive signs placed far enough away from the purchasing place so that cars can slow down before reaching the stand. These are often supplemented by signs at the stand itself. Many of these signs are most ingenious and attractive. What honey lover could resist an appeal like this:

Direct selling of farm produce in Massachusetts has been a great success, in many cases, and the plans followed by these marketers can be adapted with equal success in thousands of other places. The main requirements are: to find the right location and furnish what the people want, with due regard for honesty of purpose and for the other fellow’s rights as well as one’s own.

Roadside markets differ as widely as individual stores. Some offer only early or fancy stock. Some maintain an average standard and sell at an average price. As a matter of fact, each one must be adapted to its own locality, giving its own “public” what its own public demands. If the woman of the farm offering goods for sale has the time, she is the best one to deal with women buyers. Her woman’s imagination will stand her in good stead as to ways to make her wares attractive and ways to reach her customers’ minds. There are no set rules to be laid down. Given the good location and sufficient good produce, wits, and industry, tact and patience must do the rest.

Nobscot Mountain Orchard and Roadside Market

This summer the writer had the pleasure of visiting one of the most interesting, as well as one of the most successful roadside markets in Massachusetts, the one connected with the famous Nobscot Mountain Orchards, twenty-three miles from Boston. This fruit farm of eighty acres has 3,000 peach trees, 4,000 apple trees, 1,200 pear trees, and 2,500 quince trees. In 1915, 1916, and 1917, the market specialized in peaches and in these three years took in respectively $1,700, $1,300, and $ 3,400. In 1918 apples, preserves and jellies were added to the list and now in addition to all these, a charming tearoom caters to the comfort of guests the year around.

Current photo of the William Hagar House built circa 1730, home of the Mt. Nobscot Tearoom in the 1920s.

Mt. Nobscot Tea Room

The Mt. Nobscot Tea Room itself is worthy of a whole story. It is in the Hagar House, a historic residence built about 1730. The atmosphere of “the good, old days” has been wonderfully preserved in the old house. The tired motorist who has been attracted by the well-arranged market stand on one side of the road is now tempted to cross over to the tearoom and enjoy tea and a salad, or one of the more substantial dishes which are fast gaining fame for this happily located business.

The front door opens directly into the tearoom, a large colonial room with an enormous four-sided fireplace set diagonally so that each grate faces a corner. On one side there is a Dutch oven. The mantels and cupboards above the grates proclaim their many years of usage.

The back of the house itself is an old porch with a brick floor. Vines grow over it and here the tearoom guest who prefers a garden setting rather than in the house is served.

For the last two years, Mrs. Smerage has had charge of the tearoom. She cans and preserves a portion of the products that are shown in the roadside market stand across the way. During the War, Mrs. Smerage had charge of a community canning kitchen in Topsfield Massachusetts. The exceptionally high standard maintained in this particular kitchen, where they had less than 1% spoilage, won fame for her and after the war work closed, she started work for herself. Two years ago, she had to choose between putting her capital into her business or using it for her son’s education. She chose the latter and came to the Mt. Nobscot fruit farm to take charge of the canning work there and act as manager of the tearoom.

Mrs. Smerage says that the success that has come to her in all her work is due to the high quality she insists on maintaining. At the Mt. Nobscot Orchards, they do not try to sell the first-class fruit and then make quality canned and preserved products from culls. They reverse this order and make all of their canned and preserved stock from first-class products, and this method enables them to sell the products for a fancy price. They know that people will pay a high price for food products if they feel that they are getting their money’s worth. In 1920, Mrs. Smerage supervised the canning and preserving of $1,050 worth of strawberries alone. In 1921, in spite of a bad season, the amount of their strawberry products went up to about $1,400.

Strawberries for sale at a Roadside Stand

The tearoom enables the proprietors to keep business going the year around. The market stand, of course, is open only during the summer months. Although their farm produces only fruit for the market, they show a good variety of vegetables and other products at the stand. These are secured from the neighboring farmers, thus offering them a market for their products and at the same time giving a greater variety and better appearance to the stand. Altogether there is on this farm a well-rounded business that last year sold products amounting to over $12,500. — Bess M. Rowe

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, February 1922, Page 709; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 7

Christianity and Patriotism

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today we continue our series of favorite works of art submitted to The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women by subscribers in 1923. Wishing you a happy Sunday.

Enjoy!

Christianity and Patriotism

Pictures have practical value. When our son was but a boy his father would show him the pictures and talk about them instilling in him a love for the beautiful that has grown with the years.

The Boy Christ 1881 by German Painter, Heinrich Hofmann

One Valentine’s Day, when our son was in his teens, we framed and presented him with a 20X24” picture of Hofmann’s The Boy Christ. Many times, when questions of conduct arose, his eyes would turn to the picture and its silent influence helped him win on the right side. When he went to college, he asked to take the picture with him and it graced the walls of his room for four years. One day a fellow student in the same house said, “I wish you’d cover that picture up. It seems to penetrate my very soul.” A heart-talk followed which revealed the fact that the young man was not living true to the promise he had made to his mother.

During my teaching career, I placed this picture in the assembly room of a high school. Some weeks later, I said to a young man. “I am pleased with the progress you are making in your studies but more with your better conduct.” Hesitating a moment, he said,

“How can I act as I did when the eyes of that picture are ever following me?”

Abraham Lincoln 1865 by American Painter W.F.K. Travers

Another picture I choose is The Ideal American, Abraham Lincoln. Patriotism is taught first in the home. The story of Lincoln, boy, and man, should challenge our boys and girls. “We become like those with whom we associate.”

These two pictures will influence the home circle, guests, and strangers along the lines of Christianity and Patriotism, fundamentals in social life. –Mrs. C.W.C., Iowa

The Boy Christ Disputing With the Temple Elders 1881 by German Artist Heinrich Hofmann

FYI: The painting referred to as “The Boy Christ” (at the beginning of this post) is a detail taken from Heinrich Hofmann’s painting “The Boy Christ Disputing with the Temple Elders” (above). This painting is referred to by a number of nicknames such as “Jesus In the Temple.” The detail artwork is often referred to as “The Boy Jesus” as well as several other nicknames and has enjoyed a life of its own.

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

The Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 5

Hello, again History Lovers,

Today a farmwife from Kansas shares her two “best-loved” paintings. While in high school, she spotted the first painting through the window of a furniture store on her way to school. Thirty years later she finally acquired a print and is preparing to have it framed to hang in her home. Her second choice is as humble and as lovely.

Enjoy!

Our Best Loves

The Angelus 1857 by French Painter, Jean-Francois Millet

Well do I remember my childhood days and perhaps that is why I hunger for some of the best things in life and appreciate them more. We were poor and had plenty of privations and real art was not thought of so there were no pictures in our home. How well I remember one winter morning on my way to high school, passing a large furniture store in Kansas City and seeing a copy of The Angelus by Millet in the window. Instantly I fell in love with that picture and it fascinates me as much now as it did thirty years ago. As I gazed upon it, I could almost hear the bells ring. I could not analyze the picture then but now I know that the artist knew and loved the peasants he portrayed and admired their spirit of reverence and thanksgiving, their patient performance of wearisome labor, the beauty of character in people of lowly station, and the power and influence of custom and high ideals. I have The Gleaners by the same artist but I was not satisfied until I owned a copy of The Angelus which is waiting to be framed.

Song of the Lark 1884 by French Painter, Jules Breton

Another picture that gives me a thrill of delight is Song of the Lark by Breton. It makes prominent the simple beauty of youth and health, and labor dignified by the ennobling qualities of character and that there is something beautiful to be found wherever we are if we can only see or hear it and that ability, like happiness, comes from within us.

What great satisfaction and ennobling power in our lives are our “best loves” whether they be for pictures, song, instrumental music, poem, or prose. –Mrs. J. F. M., Kan.

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

My Neighbors and I Series–Schoolhouse and Community Building

Hello, again History Lovers,

By 1922 Sara Jane Patton, Home Demonstration Agent from Center Star, Kansas had established a thriving organization among the women of that area. Their home-arts work meetings were so well attended that the club had outgrown the ability to meet in folks’ homes. Club members wanted to also add dinners and socials to the club’s schedule of activities, but where could they find space for their activities?

At the same time, the schoolhouse in the community was in need of a remodel and improvements. By combining resources, the community was able to solve both issues with one building. Club members now had a space large enough to meet their growing needs and the children had a modern, well-lighted school to go to.

It would be interesting to have a history of the use of that building. I hope it served the community well for a decade or two. Enjoy!

Center Star, Kansas Community Club Project

Through the efforts of the community club in that district, the Center Star schoolhouse in Cherokee County, Kansas, has been remodeled into a combination of school and community building where Halloween parties and Thanksgiving dinners and socials and plays can be given without having to use the church or crowd the people into the primary seats of the schoolroom.

The Center Star Club was organized by Sara Jane Patton, Cherokee County Home Demonstration Agent. The members wished to provide social enjoyment in addition to their program of work. The socials and the parties which they gave proved so popular that there was no house in the neighborhood that could accommodate the crowds.

The schoolhouse in town had to be remodeled, as the health officer, Dr. J.C. Montgomery, had decreed that the bad lighting was causing headaches and strained eyes. Since this had to be done why not include a community room in the schoolhouse?

Plans were drawn up by Walter Ward, the extension architect at the State Agricultural College. In the new plan, the old school was made the auditorium. The old entry was converted into an elevated stage and the small porches were enclosed and made into dressing rooms. The stage of the old schoolroom, which was on the north, was moved around to the east side of the building and now serves as the main entrance. Rolling partitions separate the auditorium from the new schoolroom. Seven windows provide adequate lighting. A model kitchen, 8’ by 11’, equipped with a range, cupboards, and worktables, opens into both the auditorium and schoolroom. Hot lunches are served to the children throughout the winter months. A hot-air furnace gives heat. The auditorium seats about 125. There are rolling partitions between the two rooms. The cost of the building including some of the new equipment for the schoolroom was about $3,700.

The Center Star Community building was dedicated on November 28 [1922]. Dean Hattie Moore Mitchell of Kansas State Manual Training Normal gave the dedicatory address.

A union Sunday School meets in the building regularly and recently, when a millinery specialist from the college gave a course of instruction to the women of the community, these meetings were held in the community room.

Mrs. S.H. Jarvis is president of the club.

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 367; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

How I Teach My Children To Enjoy Work

Hello, again History Lovers,

In March of 1923, The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women published a letter from Mrs. Haring who enthusiastically shares her tips on how to teach children to work and to enjoy doing it. She starts when the children are young and always adds an “element of fun” to the tasks assigned. Her home sounds like a happy one in contrast with the home of her friend.

Enjoy!

Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator, 1863–1935

Combining Work With Play

“Dishwashing is usually one of the first tasks delegated to the young daughter of the family and this common duty often is done by her with reluctance and under protest. In our family we have helped to solve this difficulty, however, for Jane, my little eight-year-old daughter and I, combine our work with play.

Eleanor Smith’s Music Primer furnishes us with a variety of simple childlike songs. We select songs that Jane will probably sing at school and then proceed to learn them together. With the book propped up on a shelf over the kitchen sink, Jane and I can easily refer to it while the silver is finding its way into the rinsing pan or while the glassware is being polished. The rhythm of the music unconsciously produces an activity that Jane enjoys as well as I and which helps to convert an otherwise tedious task into a joyful half hour.

When we have memorized the words and music, we have a game. Jane and I are both to sing the song. If one of us makes a mistake, a forfeit must be paid to the other. What joy Jane experiences when Mother fails to strike the right note or forgets a word and has to pay her a penny.

Bed making, too, has its charms. Sometimes we imagine the coverings to be Indian blankets of wonderous colorings; at other times we are building a nest for a tree swallow and lining his home of grass with downy feathers. This performance leads to all sorts of questions and enables me to arouse Jane’s interest in the work which she will have at school at the same time as we are accomplishing a necessary task.

Jane has had her own room for over a year. The whole responsibility of the care of it is left to her and each morning finds her conscientiously putting it in order before she leaves for school. We worked out together the furnishings for her room and their arrangement. Her interest is kept keen in it by the constant addition of new and simple things and her ideas are always respected in regard to any changes which she may wish to make. She is unconsciously learning color schemes and household arrangements at this early age and her sense of responsibility, order, and neatness is being cultivated through her sense of ownership.

Dusting was an arduous task and many times had to be done over because Jane so disliked doing it. Choice victrola records are now being kept for this particular piece of work and are played at no other time. Since they are ones which Jane loves, she forgets the fact that she is having to work and hums the tune to the music of the record, while the dust disappears from tables, chair rounds, and window ledges.

Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator, 1863–1935

Cake making, table setting, and the preparation of meals have been accomplished by her through the thought of pride in doing work that “grownups” can do.

My little son, an active youngster of five, is also learning how to work joyously. When Mother needs wood, she calls on the wood fairy who alone knows the secret places in the woodshed where the best pieces are kept. He has already learned the names of the trees from which the wood comes and knows that the kinds which will make the hottest fires will furnish heat to bake a tiny pie, animal cookies, or a gingerbread man. These may be made with little trouble when larger pies, cakes, and cookies are being baked and reward the fairy in a way that interests him to bring more wood.

Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator, 1863–1935

He brings vegetables and fruits from the cellar and garden with an interest and enthusiasm that indicated to me that he is already realizing his responsibility in the development of our family life.

Jessie Willcox Smith, American Illustrator, 1863–1935

A playroom equipped with a table, cupboard, blackboard, desk, and small chairs always suggests work. Through this channel is an opportunity for teaching many lessons in arrangement and order and also in providing entertainment for them for an hour or so at a time. The finding of some old toy gives a new interest bringing with it happiness which seems only to come through activity.

The country store is but a few rods from our house and occasionally there is a need for some article to be procured quickly. The children are, of course, the natural ones to do the errand. As with all children a fat ice cream cone, a lollipop or a stick of gum is their first thought and a request is made to use some of their money for the purchase of one of these articles. Of course, they may if they like but they must consider that once in a while we have a shopping trip or go to see some interesting moving picture and if no money is saved, these wonderful trips cannot be. They finally decide to spend one penny each and as they have been taught not to linger along the way and to bring their purchases home to enjoy them, the errand is soon joyfully finished.

My children are enthusiastic egg hunters. Not many are missed because one egg from each dozen belongs to them—not one-twelfth of the egg income—oh no! Those particular eggs are put in a separate basket and counted about six times each night. Jane puts her fourth-grade arithmetic into practice and knows the exact amount of egg money coming to them each week.

A few days ago, a friend remarked at the happy way in which the children were doing a piece of work. She said, “I don’t see how you do it! I can’t get Martha to do a single thing without grumbling. She is actually lazy.”

Well, if I thought my children were lazy, I should not admit it. I should simply get to work to correct the fault and be sure it was my fault too. I do not believe that a happy, normal child is ever lazy. Perhaps the work has been made so unattractive, that interest has been lost. Anyway, I am sure that loving tact and a sympathetic understanding of the child is sufficient to win out, whatever the problem along this line may be.

Sometimes when there is a murmur over a task which they are asked to do, I simply look at them in wonder and they shamefacedly go quickly about it. Sometimes Son asks, “Mother, are you mad to me?” and I say, “No, Son, I am only surprised.” I am not a superior elder with a threatening attitude but a pal who is ever interested in their work and their play.

Each child has his daily work to do and enjoys it as a privilege because there is always something of interest connected with it. There are many ways of solving this problem; I have outlined the way that has seemed best in my experience. Perhaps because children are naturally observing, the best example we can set them is through our own right living. If we complain over difficult pieces of work, we must expect the same expression from our children over the things which seem difficult to them. It might, then, be the reasonable thing for us to learn to enjoy all sorts of work which we need to do before we can intelligently teach the same to our children.

Through the realization of what service is, these little folks are learning to combine their work with play and are happy while they are learning lessons which are fundamental principles on which the larger lessons of life are built.

I realize, too that I am doing more for my children than it appears when I instill the principle of enjoyment in work. All success in life depends upon whether the light of joy—zest—enthusiasm—permeates the mind of the worker. The old saying about “all work and no play” covers a deep truth. The more one’s work is play, the happier one will be.”–Laura T. Haring

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 379′; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Clubs and Organizations–Dog Tax Supports Libraries

Hello, again History Lovers,

The Bradford M. Field Memorial Library in Leverett, Massachusetts was established in 1916 by his daughter Elizabeth Judson Field to honor his legacy. Mr. Field had been postmaster and a prominent farmer in the area. The building served as the town’s library until 2003 when a new library was built. The original building still stands and is now The Leverett Family Museum maintained by the Leverett Historical Society. It is open to the public and features local artifacts, photographs, and documents. Other than the article below, I could find no other information regarding the financial support for the library derived from the “dog tax”. To read more about the Leverett Family Museum follow the link.

Enjoy!

Turning Barks into Books

“Massachusetts is perhaps the only state in the Union that has a public library in every township or “town” as this political division is still called in New England. A portion of the dog tax (annual dog license fee) goes to the support of these libraries. One of the most charming of these libraries is at Leverett, erected in memory of a revered citizen, Bradford Field.

The library is housed in a beautiful little building of the colonial type of architecture. Opposite the main entrance is a fireplace with colonial settles (high-backed wooden benches) on either side. Above the shelves of books that line the walls are high windows with antique panes. Upstairs is a large room used for meetings, for a reading room, for storytelling to groups of children, and so forth. This upstairs room has a cabinet on one side in which are placed pieces of old china and other historic relics which have been donated to the library.

The library is open two afternoons and evenings of every week. It serves the whole “town” and as many as seventy books have been given out in one afternoon in this rural community. It would seem as though it might pay every state to levy a dog tax and turn “barks” into “books.”

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 367; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Two Pictures I Would Like Best To Own Series–Part 2

Hello, again History Lovers,

In 1923 The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women invited farm women to write in regarding what pictures they admire and why. Hundreds of women responded to the prompt describing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Ten of the best letters were published. Over the course of the next several months, my Sunday posts will be some of these letters along with images of the artwork they describe so that we too might be enriched.  

What would you hang above your mantle?

Beauty and Joy

The Madonna of the Chair 1515, Raphael–Italian High Renaissance

Instead of buying each other Christmas gifts this year, my husband and I used the money to buy what we have long wanted for our home—Raphael’s Madonna of the Chair. I think the most important picture in a home should be a Madonna. As the mother is the center of the home, one of the great ideals of motherhood should hold first place.

How can anyone look at Raphael’s Madonna and not feel the majesty, love, and tenderness it portrays? It helps me to be a better mother. It is the emblem of peace and happiness that are found only in a true home. Our picture is in sepia with a perfectly plain black oak frame. It is truly “a thing of beauty and a joy forever.”

Dance Under the Trees at the Edge of the Lake 1870, Camille Corot–French Landscape

Another picture which I want for our home is a landscape, Dance Under the Trees at the Edge of the Lake by Corot.

I should like this picture to be a reproduction of the dainty colors in which the original was painted and with a narrow gold frame. As a lover of beauty in nature, this picture impressed itself upon me the very first time I saw it. The word that comes to my mind when I think of it is “joyful.” Youth and joyousness fairly radiate from the wonderful landscape. Even if the youthful figures were not dancing around the tree, one would still feel this happiness, I think.

These two pictures I want for my living room. One the emblem of peace and happiness, the other of joy—pictures which have long pleased the world and made it better. –Mrs. J.A.R., Minnesota

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

Two Pictures I Would Like Best to Own Series–1923

Hello, again History Lovers!

In 1923 The Farmer’s Wife—A Magazine For Farm Women invited farm women to write in regarding what pictures they admire and why. Hundreds of women responded describing some of the most famous works of art in the world. Ten of the best letters were published. Over the course of the next several months, my Sunday posts will be some of these letters along with images of the artwork they describe so that we too might be enriched. 

What would you hang above your mantle?

 

Their Beautiful Influence

Arrangement in Grey and Black No 1 (aka Whistler’s Mother) 1871 James McNeill Whistler, American Painter

“Whistler’s wonder Portrait of Artist’s Mother hangs over my living room mantel and is my daily companion. To me, she typifies the highest ideals of womanhood and the sacred privilege of being a mother. Her character is exalted but she remains to me a very human, very lovable, very understanding woman.

When my body is weary from the many tasks which a farmer’s wife always finds to do; when my babies are more than usual fretful and noisy; when my spirit suffers from the overwhelming disappointments of life, then I look at this “Mother” for help and she never fails me. I see the old hands tired and worn with the round of domestic duties which she cheerfully performed, the arms that folded baby heads to her breast, and the sweet old wrinkled face which looked out upon the world with a smile of contentment and a song of joy. As I look at her, I gain new courage to attack the problems of my little world and new faith in the One who gave me these tender baby bodies to care for. I am ashamed of my selfish, discontented attitude and I am comforted for she seems to say to me: “Have courage, child. I have been over the path before you. Yours is the greatest privilege in the world—to be a homemaker and a mother. Remember that each homely duty, no matter how trivial, may be glorified if done with a heart full of love. And it is all a part of the Master’s great plan for your life.”

Dance of the Nymphs 1850, Camille Corot, French Painter

“Corot’s great Dance of the Nymphs is another favorite. I love to imagine them dancing playfully in and out among the trees. They call my spirit away from work and open up new vistas of a fairy country and fairy folk where there is rest for the weary body and recreation for the weary mind. The slender trees, the lovely foliage, the soft grass all beckon me, saying: “We will show you a land of beauty and sunshine, where hopes are realized and dreams come true.” So, I close my eyes and seem to be lifted bodily and carried across mountain and plain and sea to distant lands filled with wonderful sights!

I am prone to forget the spiritual values of life, so engrossed am I with the work-a-day world. Why let the activities of a busy day shut out the higher, better things? These two pictures have exerted a beautiful influence over my life and for that reason, I love them dearly and would not give them up.” –Mrs. J.J.Q., South Carolina

~FWM

The above article was published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1923, Page 359; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.

The Twelve Greatest Things Series–Money

Twelve Greatest Things In Life

The first of the Great Twelve discussed by Doctor Holland was Love. In February he showed us the value of Struggle. This month he shows us the two faces of Money–its good face and its bad, its smile and its frown.

The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women

Hello, again History Lovers!

Today’s post is the third installment of The Twelve Greatest Things Series published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women 1926. Through Reverend Hollands’ essay, we are reminded of the ability Money has to ennoble a man’s character, as well as the power to expose a man’s ignoble soul.

Enjoy!

Money

“I AM the most popular of man’s earthly treasures. Throughout the world, I am called by a thousand names.

Since I was discovered, I have had more power than any other thing or idea.

Americans are positively crazy over me. So restless are they to possess me that they have no peace night or day. Their two leading occupations seem to be to get and spend me. I am the god in whom they trust.

One of my greatest names is Power. At times I have seemed almost Omnipotent. I have put sniveling weaklings upon golden thrones and bought crowns for their worthless heads. Priests and ministers have sold their souls for me. Whole governments have I held in my powerful hand. When fools make war, I sit behind the scenes and pull the wires of human destiny.

I am a magic wand. I erect hospitals where cripples are cured. I build houses of God where men find forgiveness and peace. I buy the jewel which the lover places upon the hand of his beloved. I accompany the pair throughout their journey of life and at last, buy them a winding sheet (shroud).

While I am neither good nor bad in myself, I bless or burn those who use or abuse my power. If any man will love me enough, I absolutely rule him.

If you would see me at my worst, behold the shriveled heart of a miser.

My best use is to make possible the bloom of health upon a baby’s cheek.

Poor fools will lie for me but they always regret their bargain. Often have I been in the pockets of robbers but I never have enriched one thief. I have an eternal quarrel with all who use me dishonestly.

If men were only wise, they would see how cheap I really am compared with the great things of life. True love I never once have purchased, nor have I ever made one home happy where love was not there before I came.

Health is worth many times more than wealth, yet countless men have traded their health for me. All such desire to trade back. Nature does not allow that, for she has put no reverse gears in the human-machine. Though men know this, still I have but to “jingle my guineas” in their ears, and they rush off like hounds after a hare.

Honor is above the price of rubies, yet, here and there, I find men whose honor is purchasable. Even some women sell their virtue for dollars and men have sacrificed lovely daughters on the altar of mammon.

Foolish men! Do they not know that the soul is worth more than all material worlds? I have never saved one soul in all time, nor ever. I can not buy a prayer, nor am I to be compared to one tear of repentance.

What am I? I am a tool, a prop, a temporary comfort. My blessing and my cursing stop at the grave. From there men’s souls go on without me. I have sent many souls to judgment but have accompanied none.

I am only for Time. Men are created for Eternity.”

~FWM

The above article was originally published in The Farmer’s Wife–A Magazine For Farm Women, March 1926, page 141; Webb Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota. Articles may be edited for length and clarity.