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.


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.”


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.