Country Women Cope with Hard Times
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154 pages

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"It was hard times," French Carpenter Clark recalls, a sentiment unanimously echoed by the sixteen other women who talk about their lives in Country Women Cope with Hard Times. Born between 1890 and 1940 in eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina, these women grew up on farms, in labor camps, and in remote towns during an era when the region's agricultural system changed dramatically. As daughters and wives, they milked cows, raised livestock, planted and harvested crops, worked in textile mills, sold butter and eggs, preserved food, made cloth, sewed clothes, and practiced remarkable resourcefulness. Their recollections paint a vivid picture of rural life in the first half of the twentieth century for a class of women underrepresented in historical accounts.

Through her edited interviews with these women, Melissa Walker provides firsthand descriptions of the influence of modernization on ordinary people struggling through the agricultural depression of the 1920s and 1930s and its aftermath. Their oral histories make plain the challenges such women faced and the self-sacrificing ways they found to confront hardship. While the women detail the difficulties of their existence—the drought years, early freezes, low crop prices, and tenant farming—they also recall the good times and the neighborly assistance of well-developed mutual aid networks, of which women were the primary participants.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 octobre 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781611172157
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Country Women Cope with Hard Times
Carol Bleser, Series Editor
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Best Companions: Letters of Eliza Middleton Fisher and Her Mother ,
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From the Pen of a She-Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Emilie Riley McKinley
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Edited by Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClercq
A Southern Woman of Letters: The Correspondence of Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
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Country Women Cope with Hard Times: A Collection of Oral Histories
Edited by Melissa Walker
Country Women Cope with Hard Times
E DITED BY Melissa Walker
2004 University of South Carolina
Cloth edition published by the University of South Carolina Press, 2004 Paperback edition published by the University of South Carolina Press, 2010 Ebook edition published in Columbia, South Carolina, by the University of South Carolina Press, 2012
21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
The Library of Congress has cataloged the cloth edition as follows:
Country women cope with hard times : a collection of oral histories / edited by Melissa Walker.
p. cm. - (Women s diaries and letters of the South)
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 1-57003-524-5 (cloth : alk. paper)
1. Rural women-South Carolina-Diaries. 2. Rural women-Tennessee-Diaries. 3. Rural women-South Carolina-Correspondence. 4. Rural women-Tennessee-Correspondence. 5. Depressions-1929-South Carolina. 6. Depressions-1929-Tennessee. 7. South Carolina-Rural conditions. 8. Tennessee-Rural conditions. 9. Oral history. I. Walker, Melissa, 1962-II. Series.
HQ1438.S6 C68 2004
305.4 092 2757-dc22
ISBN: 978-1-61117-215-7 (ebook)
Dedicated to the honor of my grandmother Evelyn Petree Lewellyn And in memory of my grandmother Maude Lambert Walker
C ONTENTS List of Illustrations Series Editor s Preface Acknowledgments Introduction: Farm Women and Their Stories O NE Elizabeth Fox McMahan T WO Hettie Lawson T HREE Wilma Cope Williamson F OUR LaVerne Farmer F IVE French Carpenter Clark S IX Korola Neville Lee S EVEN Mary Evelyn Russell Lane E IGHT Peggy Delozier Jones N INE Ethel Davis T EN Mabel Love E LEVEN Kate Simmons T WELVE Evelyn Petree Lewellyn T HIRTEEN Martha Alice West F OURTEEN Ruth Hatchette McBrayer F IFTEEN Mary Webb Quinn S IXTEEN Dorothy Skinner and Virginia Skinner Harris S EVENTEEN Afterword: Reflections on Interpreting Oral History Suggestions for Further Reading Index
Elizabeth Fox in 1901
Home of Ernest and Elizabeth McMahan, built in 1912
Elizabeth Fox McMahan with her daughters Ernestine and Dorothy in the family buggy around 1940
Elizabeth Fox McMahan around 1940
Ike and Joe Retta Petree, Evelyn Lewellyn s parents, in 1943
Evelyn Petree in 1942
Evelyn Petree Lewellyn, Christmas 2001
County Women Cope with Hard Times: A Collection of Oral Histories is the twentieth volume in what had been the Women s Diaries and Letters of the Nineteenth-Century South series. This series has been redefined and is now titled Women s Diaries and Letters of the South, enabling us to include some remarkably fine works from the twentieth century. This series includes a number of never-before-published diaries, some collections of unpublished correspondence, and a few reprints of published diaries-a potpourri of nineteenth-century and, now, twentieth-century southern women s writings.
The series enables women to speak for themselves, providing readers with a rarely opened window into southern society before, during, and after the American Civil War and into the twentieth century. The significance of these letters and journals lies not only in the personal revelations and the writing talent of these women authors but also in the range and versatility of the documents contents. Taken together, these publications will tell us much about the heyday and the fall of the Cotton Kingdom, the mature years of the peculiar institution, the war years, the adjustment of the South to a new social order following the defeat of the Confederacy, and the New South of the twentieth century. Through these writings, the reader will also be presented with firsthand accounts of everyday life and social events, courtships and marriages, family life and travels, religion and education, and the life-and-death matters that made up the ordinary and extraordinary world of the American South.
The rise of oral history as a scholarly discipline in the twentieth century offers opportunities for historians and, indeed, book publishers to include the lives of Americans who have left few or no written records. Professor Walker and others have found a way to capture the immediacy of their subjects experiences and to preserve them as part of the historical record. An important theme of Walker s Country Women Cope with Hard Times is her examination, by way of the life stories she presents, of the great transition that took place in the American South as farming for a living was replaced by an economy based upon industry and commerce. These women, born between 1890 and 1940 in eastern Tennessee and western South Carolina, grew up on farms, in labor camps, and in remote towns during an era when the region s agricultural system changed dramatically. Their recollections paint a vivid picture of rural life in the first half of the twentieth century for a class of women underrepresented in the historical canon. Their life stories reveal the effects upon two generations of southerners of the industrialization of their region and the reintegration of the South into the national and world economy. While they recollect hard times-drought, low crop prices, and the uncertainties of tenant farming-they also talk of good times and the communities of church and kinfolks that they sustained as wives, mothers, and independent women. In some ways these women recount the last stages of darning and restitching the fabric of the nation that was torn apart by the American Civil War.
Carol Bleser
Any collection of stories is a collaborative work, and I am grateful to many people who made this collection possible. First, I am deeply appreciative of the women who shared their life stories with me. All the women here shared their stories with a generosity of spirit I hope to emulate, and I thank them for their time and their openness.
I also appreciate the help of all those who pointed me to oral history subjects, including Ann Ross Bright, who gave up several days of her busy summer in 1994 to arrange interviews and to accompany me while I spoke with members of her community. Margaret Proffitt suggested several wonderful Blount County, Tennessee, narrators, as did my parents. Frances Amidon suggested that I interview Virginia Harris and Dorothy Skinner. Mike Corbin shared his notes on peach farming and directed me to Ruth Hatchette McBrayer. Sheila Oliver read about my book in her local newspaper and contacted me to suggest that I interview her parents, Mary and Eldred Quinn. The ever alert Alumnae Office staff at Converse College shared Elizabeth Adamitis s correspondence about her mother, an action that ultimately led me to meet Mrs. Adamitis and spend time with her in her beloved Sevier County in Tennessee.
I thank Carol Bleser for suggesting that I edit some of my oral history interviews for a collection in order to make these wonderful stories available to a wider audience. I appreciate her encouragement and guidance throughout this process. I appreciate the support and advice of Alex Moore, my editor at the University of South Carolina Press, and the suggestions of two anonymous readers of the original book propo

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