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Mar 23

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: Women and Farms [1932]

Posted on March 23, 2022 at 9:30 AM by Bill Sowers

women and Farms graphic 2

WOMEN AND FARMS 

An excellent presentation by a Kansas farm woman in the early 1930s, given at the 1932 Annual Kansas Agricultural Convention. Mrs. Norma Knight Jones of Eskridge speaks eloquently of the changes in agriculture during the early 20th century and the part women had in making "farming a scientific industry, instead of a haphazard adventure, and this very scientific outlook, this certainty of seeding and reaping, [which] will eventually take from farming its casual profit and make it a business of sure returns." 

The beginning of Norma Knight Jones' presentation to the 1932 Convention caught my attention...

"This subject, 'Women and Farms,' has always been a highly provocative one. The woman who lived on a farm has been written about, talked to, argued with, and wept over. Sentimental writers have poured over her the honeyed sweetness of their words; social workers have pitied her hapless plight in barren surroundings; realists have pictured the unrelieved bleakness of her isolation; and poets have sung tender ballads to her bravery and her courage. Her city sisters have scorned her and her children have left her. But through it all the farm woman has gone on, silently and steadily, unaffected by the uproar, until she stands to-day, clear-eyed and successful. And what is more, she is keenly aware that those same antagonistic voices have changed from pity to envy, and from scorn to admiration."

You can read the full text of the speech at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library:

WOMEN AND FARMS / by Norma Knight Jones

Jones' presentation appeared in the March 1932 issue of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture's Quarterly Report.  The full issue, which includes other articles/presentations is available online at:
https://cdm16884.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p16884coll113/id/1960/rec/40

The KGI Online Library has many of the reports on Kansas Agricultural Conventions online from 1922 to the early 1950s here:
https://cdm16884.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/search/searchterm/A1-3-2/order/dated/ad/asc

Interested in learning more about Norma Knight Jones? She became an ordained minister in 1941 and there's a great biography of her on the TruthUnity website:
https://www.truthunity.net/people/norma-knight-jones

Here's a quote from this biography:
"...Her husband lost all his money [Stock Market crash of 1929] and had become a bed-ridden invalid.  All that was left to them was an old broken down farm near Eskridge, Kansas, where Norma became the bread winner. Their daughter and two sons were grown, either in college or out of it and starting their own life patterns. Norma directed the cultivation of the crops, prepared meals for the harvesters in season, baked her own bread and pastries, made up crossword puzzles which she and her younger son, home on weekends, contrived and sold for publication..."

An amazing life...