Women of the South Dakota Farmers Institutes

A while back, I was reading an article about the relationship between farmers and agronomists in the period where the ag science was blossoming, but before hybridization.  Curious about how that played out in South Dakota, I thought of the farmer’s institutes that the Agricultural College in Brookings and the state put on in different places.  So I’ve started going through the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America collection (love some good LOC time) searching for news printed about the farmers institutes in South Dakota papers.

From the 1880s to the 1910s, counties across the state hosted “farmers’ institutes” that could be one to four days of lectures and demonstrations on agricultural topics at a central spot like a courthouse or opera house.  In SD and elsewhere, they later evolved into more formal “short courses” directed by the state’s agricultural college and its extension offices.  Many farmers’ institutes involved judged contests for corn or grains, both for men and boys.  Many also seem to have made a special effort to get women to attend by providing special sessions on domestic science–topics of home sanitation, caring for the sick, different cooking techniques, etc.  This in turn made me curious about the women who served as instructors, so here is what I could find out about the female instructors I’m coming across in the newspapers.  I am way down the rabbit hole at this point…  As is often the case, it was amazing to actually see their faces when photographs were included in the newspapers and other publications, and to read their own words when full text articles and speeches were printed.

The list of women included below:

  • Nellie Z. Chapman
  • Luella J. Noble
  • Bertha Dahl Laws
  • Adda F. Howie
  • Jessie M. Hoover
  • Dale A. Pickler Conway
  • Venia Marie Kellar
  • Gertrude Erickson
  • Mrs. Charles B. McCoy

Nellie Z. Chapman (1851-1927)

In 1896, “Mrs. L.P. Chapman” of Hanson County gave a presentation on “Domestic Economy” at the Hanson/Davison Counties farmer’s institute in Mitchell.  I don’t see another example of her giving a farmer’s institute talk.  Most institutes were conducted by Brookings college faculty, but local arrangement committees would sometimes recruit locals to give presentations as well.  This is what the paper reported about her talk:

“The ideas given by Mrs. Chapman were formed as she came in contact with the various things which go to make up the life of a farmer’s wife.  She believed that in purchasing things for the home that the best was the cheapest, applying the rule to the buying of dry goods.  In setting the table she urged a good variety of vegetables, for they are indispensable to economical living as they can be raised by the farmer.  She did not believe in the economy of going without things to save.  Get what you need and use it carefully, remembering that it is the wise use of things, whether of money, time or strength, which will help most in hard times and bring more pleasure in good times.  Above all let us keep cheerful, for a merry heart is a continual feast.”

Nellie Chapman was born in Massachusetts in February 1851.  Her Find-a-Grave.com page gives her maiden name as Nellie Zebiah Barnett, but a son’s application to the Sons of the American Revolution in 1921 gives her name as Mary Wilaminia “Nellie” Brown.  She married Luman Phelps Chapman in 1880.  They moved to South Dakota at least by 1883.  In the 1900-1910 censuses, they lived on a farm in Jasper Township, Hanson County, South Dakota.  In the 1902 and 1910 atlases for Hanson County, Nellie was listed as primary landowner, (in 1902, with “L.P.” in parentheses below her name).  They lived on 160 acres south of Fulton in the northeast quarter of Section 33 of Township 103 North, Range 58 West.  She was active in the Alexandria chapter of the Women’s Relief Corps, the auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic.  She served as Department (state) President in 1913-1914.  She was also involved with the Women’s Missionary Society of the Southern Dakota Presbytery.

Luella J. Noble (1850-1937)

In 1899, Mrs. H. Noble spoke to the farmers institute in Mitchell on “The Farm and Farm Life” that covered subjects on butter-making and encouraging agricultural diversification.  She lived in Mitchell, and it was interesting that she spoke about being a farmer’s wife since her husband was a businessman (furniture/undertaking) and they lived in town in 1900–perhaps they had previously lived on a farm.  From the news’ reporting on her paper:

“Mrs. Noble said she enjoyed the farm and thought that every farmer’s wife should learn to.  She was proud that she was a farmer’s wife.  ‘It is the most independent and healthful occupation, if we do not try to do two or three persons’ work,’ said Mrs. Noble.  ‘I am glad we who make good butter are not obliged to take two or three cents a pound less that we should in order that the grocer may even up on some of the poor butter he gets.  It is as impossible to make good butter from spoiled cream as it is to get good water from a stagnant pool.  We should help the creameries with our patronage and encouragement.’  She urged the farmers to adopt diversified farming and believed there was more success in that than anything else.  She was glad that the stock industry was growing so fast.  Mrs. Noble’s paper was very interesting and contained some good suggestions as to home duties.”

Luella Noble was born in June 1850 in Indiana.  She and her husband Harvey came to South Dakota between 1886 and 1889.  She was also involved with the Mitchell W.C.T.U. (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) and the Woman’s Home/Foreign Missionary Society as well as the Ladies’ Aid of the First Methodist Church in Mitchell.

Mrs. Bertha Dahl Laws (1871-1946)

Bertha Dahl Laws, from Appleton, Minnesota, was a prominent regional lecturer and author on topics of domestic science and a proponent of industrial education.  In 1901, Bertha Dahl Laws was the only woman invited to speak at the National Farmer’s Congress in Sioux Falls.  Her talk was titled “The American Girl and the Home”:

“While by no means a ‘new woman’ Mrs. Laws takes broad views as to the sphere of women.  She contends that while women should never overlook the home she should not house herself so completely in the home that she knows little or nothing of the outer world.  In her address she paid a glowing tribute to the American girl, and the picture that she paints is certainly an ideal.”

She spoke at a 1903 institute held at Tacoma Park in Aberdeen on the topics of “The American Girl and the Home,” “Plain Foods and Plain Living,” and “Common Sense in Common Cooking.”  The 1903 institute was held in conjunction with other Tacoma Park events after the successful drilling of an artesian well there.  In 1903, she also spoke at the Tri-State Grain and Stock Growers’ Association convention in Fargo with M.F. Greeley, a head conductor of the farmers’ institutes at the time, and Miss Louise A. Gastman, an instructor in the domestic science department of the Agricultural College (NDSU).  In 1904, she and M.F. Greeley were part of a multi-day celebration in dedicating the new Brown County Courthouse in Aberdeen on March 15th.  Bertha spoke on “The Future Citizen.”  In 1904, she also spoke as one of the lecturers at the Epworth Assembly in Canton, held from June 30 to July 12, and she was one of nine women on the program.  The article about that event claimed she had a national reputation.  She spoke on Farmer’s Day, July 9, with the Hon. M.F. Greeley, another institute lecturer.  She was described in the paper as “a lady who knows how to entertain the farmers wives.”

At a 1905 institute in Mitchell, Mrs. Bertha Dahl Laws spoke on home-making, saying that “the American girl should be educated with the idea before her of the three great and glorious periods of her life, womanhood, wifehood, and motherhood.”  She claimed that course offerings by Eastern colleges in Latin, Greek, and math were largely useless, and schools should teach buying home goods, arranging them, home nursing and sanitation – that schools should teach life skills.  That same year, at an institute in Hot Springs, she spoke about education again, as well as food’s contributions to good health while Miss Christine Dahl presented cooking demonstrations at the I.O.O.F. Hall.  That year she and others were also called to hold a circuit of lectures in Ipswich, Roscoe, Eureka, Wessington Springs, Salem, Canton, and elsewhere.  In March at the Grain and Forage Convention in Huron, she gave her “Plain Foods” lecture after a talk on domestic science by Brookings agricultural college instructor, Miss Wardall.

The Minnesota Farmers' Institute Annual (1902), 193.

The Minnesota Farmers’ Institute Annual (1902), 193.

Her extensive 1902 article in the Minnesota Farmers’ Institute Annual journal on “The Woman Who Works” expounded on the economic necessity for many women to work, but “what kind of work shall she do”? [193].  She said in the article that home-making should have precedence over independence and that “more homelike occupations” are desired even though “women have rushed, all too freely perhaps, into nearly every trade and profession,” calling that an “unnatural life” [194].  The article includes a theme found in her later lectures on the uselessness of a college education (noting particularly subjects like Latin and mathematics) for women because a common school education is sufficient and college makes women impatient with home duties [195].  She interestingly includes census statistics of women working in traditionally male jobs like locomotive engineers, miners, carpenters, traveling salesmen, architects, bank officials, lawyers, doctors, newspaper reporters, clergy, undertaking, civil engineers, and electricians, but advises that women should not risk “overcrowding” the professions “already pretty well supplied with masculine talent” [197].  She then goes through pages and pages of the opportunities found in more traditional women’s work, particularly income-earning activities that can be done from home, although some allowance is made for women’s demonstrated success in fields like retail sales, libraries, and architecture, for cases where there exists education and opportunity [197-200].

A copy of her lectures, “Plain Foods and Plain Living,” “The American Girl in the Home,” and “Economical Preparation of Food” were printed in the Wisconsin Farmers’ Institutes 1905 handbook (the proceedings from their state institute in Eau Claire), which has been published on Google Books.  A lecture on the Home was published in 1906 by the Minnesota Dairymen’s Association, p.100-111 on Google Books.  For a time, she edited the “Household Department” of the Minnesota Farmers Institute Annual.

The Victoria Advocate (TX), January 16, 1922.

The Victoria Advocate (TX), January 16, 1922.

In 1920-1922, she participated in lecture tours through South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Texas that were run by the extension office of the International Harvester company.  At the International Harvester’s Agricultural Short Course in Victoria, Texas, she spoke on “The Home–Its Furnishings and Care,” “Our Food Its Production, Preparation and Preservation,” “Thrift–A National Asset,” “A Labor-Saving Kitchen,” “Woman’s Work in the Community,” and “Good Health in the Home.”

Bertha Dahl Laws was the daughter of Reverend T.H. Dahl President of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church.  Her husband was Yngvar Laws, a Norwegian immigrant and druggist.  She taught for a time in Minneapolis then participated largely in lecturing, including circuits of institutes through Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Texas, and Canada (many more news articles than I could cite below–try a search for her on Chronicling America-LOC).  In the 1900 and 1910 censuses, she was not listed with an occupation, but in the 1905 state census and 1920 federal census, her occupation was listed as a lecturer.  During World War I, Bertha was an officer of the Women’s Committee of the Minnesota Division of the Council of National Defense.  She also ran the Woman’s Work Department and Department of Public Welfare (the level over the women’s dept.) at the Minnesota State Fair in 1915-1920.  By 1930, she and her husband had retired.  Later Yngvar and Bertha moved to San Diego, California.

Mrs. Adda F. Howie (1852-1936)

The Minneapolis Journal (MN), February 8, 1902.

The Minneapolis Journal (MN), February 8, 1902.

Adda F. Howie was nationally-known for her dairy farm with a highly-regarded herd Jersey cows in Elm Grove (Brookfield Township), Wisconsin.  She lectured on dairying and progressive agriculture, but also on home life–about child-rearing, marriage (getting and keeping a man), housework, hospitality, etc.

In South Dakota in November and December 1906, Howie was on the schedule to speak at thirty-two farmers’ institutes on the subjects of “Dairying from the Standpoint of the Farmer’s Wife” and “Home Life.”  The institutes lasted one or two days and many of the dates overlapped–so they must have been traveling town to town, one after the other.  Two of the four men also on the ‘ticket’ for the institutes were faculty from the agricultural college at Brookings, and the other two were in private enterprise.  One news article in Mitchell reported specifically on her thorough knowledge of dairying and the attention paid by the largely male audience to the female speaker.  In January 1907, she was on the schedule for the South Dakota Improved Live Stock and Poultry Breeders’ Association meeting in Mitchell on “Profitable Dairying from a Practical Standpoint” and at farmer’s institutes in Aberdeen and Elk Point.  In 1909, she spoke at institutes in Mt. Vernon, Rapid City, and Hot Springs on dairying and homemaking.  She also lectured in Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Montana, Washington, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Vermont (search on Chronicling America-LOC for more).  She was on the state farmer’s institute speakers board in Wisconsin for eight years, South Dakota for two seasons, North Dakota for one and New York for one.  She travelled at least once to Europe for her work.  A circuit to Florida in 1919 was done through the International Harvester company’s agricultural short courses / demonstration train.

She was largely accepted into the male-dominated agricultural world, I suspect because she her career and advice were couched in relatively conservative gender roles and she may have been a bit of a novelty attraction to have a female agriculture expert.  She was lampooned a bit when a widely reprinted article reported that she advised farmers on the temperament of cows, and that she had suggested that things like cheerful greetings, music, and pleasant surroundings (like window curtains) would impact milk production.  It even made the papers in Victoria, Australia (link here).   Her advocacy did focus on good treatment and sanitary conditions, although the following photo of her playing an instrument for her cows was printed in at least one paper.

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), November 14, 1915.

Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), November 14, 1915.

The Breckenridge News (Cloverport, KY), July 31, 1918.

The Breckenridge News (Cloverport, KY), July 31, 1918.

Howie was also a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin for eight years, was on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Jersey Breeders’ Association in 1903, was a member of the American Jersey Club, served on the executive board of the Farm Women’s Congress in 1913, and was the first woman to serve on the Wisconsin Board of Agriculture in 1912-1916–one of the only women to have done so in any state at that time.  Howie eventually was hired to design dairies for others, particularly the president of the Erie Railroad.  In 1913, she served on the board of the Wisconsin State Fair association, and it made the news when she made the motion to block the state’s woman’s suffrage association from having a booth at the fair.  In 1915, she was the head of the dairy section of the world’s congress of farm women at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.  In 1916, the University of Wisconsin gave her an Honorary Recognition Award, award profile here.  A painting of her was given to the Portrait Gallery of the College of Agriculture in 1924, link here.

Adda F. Howie lived on a 120 acre dairy farm in Brookfield Township, Waukesha Co., Wisconsin with her husband David Howie and their children.  She was born in Marquette County, Wisconsin.  In many city directories (Ancestry.com) over the years for Waukesha County and in the 1905 state census, she is listed independently as a stock breeder in her own right.  Articles claimed that before inheriting and taking management of her father’s land at Sunny Peak Farm in Waukesha County, she was a society woman in Milwaukee.  She may have authored a book published in Milwaukee in 1890 called “Modern Fairy Lore”–it was listed on Amazon and Abe Books when I ran a Google-search and she has a profile (here) on WorldCat.org.

Five pages of her own reminiscences, in her own handwriting, can be viewed on the Wisconsin Historical Society’s website, link here.

Jessie M. Hoover (1891-?)

North Dakota Agricultural College yearbook (1911), 72.

North Dakota Agricultural College yearbook (1911), 72.

In 1907, Jessie M. Hoover was named the first preceptress of the new school of agriculture in South Dakota.  She came to the college from Kansas where she had graduated from that state’s normal school and their state agricultural college with a Bachelor of Science, and she had long experience with instruction at farmers’ institutes.  She and the new president of the agricultural college went on the schedule for the South Dakota farmers institutes in 1907-08 in preparation for their new roles in Brookings.  Before South Dakota, she also had taught at the Plummer Manual Training High School in Idaho Springs, Colorado.  In 1909, she moved to teach at the agricultural college in Fargo, North Dakota, where she was also Dean of Women, and later on to the University of Idaho.

The American Food Journal (December 1922), 16.

The American Food Journal (December 1922), 16.

In 1912, she wrote an article “Home Economics in the Agricultural College” for The Journal of Home Economics.  In it, she lays out her approach that education for women in agricultural schools should be part normal school, part practical education, and part preparatory college; that ag schools should schedule their courses based on planting/harvest schedules; and that ag schools should work closely with farmers’ institutes and farmers’ clubs as well as extension work and women’s clubs.

In about 1918, she moved east to work on milk utilization programs in the Dairy Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In 1924, her office published a short booklet of poster entries that school children made for the milk-for-health initiative, link on archive.org here.  The author profile for “Hoover, Jessie M.” on WorldCat.org, link here.

Dale A. Pickler Conway (1887-1984)

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

At the 1915 farmers institute held at the opera house in Hurley (Turner County), Miss Dale A. Pickler demonstrated desserts and salads, fondant candy, and leavening and pastries.  The same institute included women’s topics on nutrition and canning as well.  That set of speakers gave an agricultural short course in Wilmot the same year.  The article covering the Wilmot event specified that it was a short course and not a farmers institute.

Alice Dale Pickler was from Faulkton and was the daughter of John and Alice Pickler, both prominent in South Dakota politics.  Dale attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell.  In June 1915, Dale married Roy Conway and they later moved to Mission, Texas.

Venia Marie Kellar (1880-1958)

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

In 1913, then living on a homestead she filed in Crookston, Nebraska, Venia M. Kellar participated as the Home Economics demonstrator for a schedule of short courses put on around the state by the agricultural college in Brookings.  At the 1915 farmers institute held at the opera house in Hurley (Turner County), Miss Kellar presented on nutrition and balancing meals, and gave a lecture on “The Home of Today.”  The same institute included women’s topics on pastries and canning as well.   In 1916, she was part of short courses held in Canton as well.

Venia Marie Kellar was a 1902 graduate of the School of Expression and Oratory at Nebraska Wesleyan University.  She later attended the University of Nebraska and earned a Masters degree in Home Economics from Columbia University in New York.  Kellar was a leader in the state extension work in the home demonstration office directed from Brookings’ agricultural college.  In 1917-1954, she worked as a state home demonstration agent from the extension service of the University of Maryland, College Park.  In 1923, she founded the Rural Women’s Short Course.  For the University’s extension office, she wrote bulletins on “Something on Floors” (1929) and “New Touch on the Old Furniture” (1935).  In 1935, she became an assistant director of the college’s extension service.  In 1938, she served on a committee on extension organization and policy for the Association of Land-Grant Colleges and Universities.  She retired from the University of Maryland in 1954 and spent time between homes in Washington D.C. and Crookston, Nebraska.

Gertrude Erickson (1883-?)

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

Turner County Herald (Hurley SD), December 17, 1914.

Gertrude Erickson was billed as a canning specialist from Canby, Minnesota for the farmers’ institute short course in Hurley, S.D. in 1915.  In 1916, she started work for the Extension Office of the South Dakota Agricultural College and, in that work, organized canning clubs across the state by partnering with county extension offices.  She and co-worker Mary A. Dolve also set up a kitchen demonstration exhibit at the state fair in 1916.  She left the South Dakota office in 1917 and worked for a time in Maryland.  In 1919, she became a county home demonstration agent for the Farm Bureau in Valley County, Montana, living in Glasgow, MT.  In that role, she was involved in many demonstration events, clubs, camps, fairs, and more.

Mrs. Charles B. McCoy

McCoy married attorney Charles B. McCoy and they lived in Dupree, South Dakota.  In late 1911, McCoy was appointed by Gov. Vessey to be a domestic science instructor in upcoming South Dakota farmers’ institutes.

In 1913, she had joined the agricultural extension staff of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Ames.  She had a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics.  With her Iowa extension work, she taught domestic science at farmers institutes and short courses around the state.

In the 1920 census, there is an attorney Charles B. McCoy who was born in South Dakota and lived in San Diego, California with a wife named Florence – so that may be them…


Sources for Nellie Z. Chapman:

  • The Mitchell Capital (SD), December 11, 1896.
  • Turner County Herald (Hurley, SD), April 15, 1909; June 12, 1913; and December 4, 1913.
  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), April 13, 1911.
  • Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton, SD), February 27, 1914.
  • Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), May 8, 1914.
  • Nellie Zebiah Barnett Chapman” and “Luman Phelps Chapman,” Find-a-Grave.com.
  • Application for Membership: Herman Floraine Chapman, The South Dakota Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Sioux Falls, December 31, 1920, approved January 16, 1921.
  • Journal of the Twenty-First Annual Convention of the Department of South Dakota Women’s Relief Corps, Canton, June 28-30, 1904 (Aberdeen: News Printing Co., 1904), 10, 41. via Google Books
  • Journal of the Twenty-Fifth National Convention of the Women’s Relief Corps, Sarasota Springs, N.Y., September 12-13, 1907 (Boston: Griffith-Stillings Press, 1907), 407. via Google Books
  • Journal of the Thirty-Sixth National Convention of the Women’s Relief Corps, Portland Oregon, August 20-22, 1918 (Washington D.C.: The National Tribune Company, 1918), 54. via Google Books
  • 1885 South Dakota State Census, Hanson County, 103-58 [Jasper Township], E.D. 114 (June 1, 1885), 9. via Ancestry.com
  • 1900 U.S. census, SD, Hanson County, Jasper Township, E.D. 170 (June 11, 1900), 3. via Ancestry.com
  • 1910 U.S. census, SD, Hanson County, Jasper Township, E.D. 217 (April 20, 1910), 3A. via Ancestry.com
  • 1920 U.S. census, SD, Hanson County, Wayne Township, E.D. 26 (January 17, 1920), 1B. via Ancestry.com

Sources for Luella Noble:

  • The Aberdeen Democrat (SD), June 9, 1905.
  • The Mitchell Capital (SD), February 3, 1899; February 28, 1908; November 18, 1909; and March 9, 1916.
  • 1900 U.S. census, SD, Davison County, Mitchell, E.D. 113 (June 4, 1900), 7. via Ancestry.com
  • 1910 U.S. census, SD, Davison County, Mitchell, E.D. 139 (April 15, 1910), 1A. via Ancestry.com
  • 1920 U.S. census, SD, Davison County, Mitchell, E.D. 74 (January 13, 1920), 11A. via Ancestry.com
  • 1930 U.S. census, SD, Davison County, Mitchell, E.D. 18-10 (April 8, 1930), 4A. via Ancestry.com
  • Luella Jane Noble,” on Find-a-Grave.com

Sources for Bertha Dahl Laws:

  • The Aberdeen Democrat (SD), January 30, 1903; May 29 and June 5, 1903; and March 11, 1904.
  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), January 8, 1920.
  • Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton, SD), June 17 and July 1, 1904.
  • Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), June 16 and July 28, 1905.
  • The Mitchell Capital (SD), October 11, 1901; and October 13 and November 24, 1905.
  • The Bemidji Daily Pioneer (MN), April 14, 1915.
  • The Victoria Advocate (TX), January 16, 1922.
  • Clarke, Ida Clyde. American Women and the World War. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1918. Chapter 22.  The World War I Document Archive, Brigham Young University.
  • Eighmey, Rae Katherine. Food Will Win the War: Minnesota Crops, Cooks, and Conservation During World War I.  Snippet view on Google Books, unpaginated.
  • Laws, Bertha Dahl. “The Woman Who Works,” The Minnesota Farmers’ Institute Annual No. 15 (St Paul, MN: Pioneer Press Co., 1902), 193-243.
  • —–. “Plain Foods and Plain Living,” 133-138, “The American Girl in the Home,” 173-174, and “Economical Preparation of Food,” 268-272, Wisconsin Farmers’ Institutes: A Handbook of Agriculture, Bulletin No. 19 (Milwaukee: Evening Wisconsin Co., 1905).
  • Morley, J.R. Ed. Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Dairyman’s Association. Northfield, MN: Northfield News Print, 1906.
  • 1900 U.S. census, MN, Swift County, Appleton, E.D. 267 (June 8, 1900), 10. via Ancestry.com
  • 1905 MN census, Swift County, Appleton, E.D. 14 (June 3, 1900), 7. via Ancestry.com
  • 1910 U.S. census, MN, Swift County, Appleton, E.D. 156 (April 19, 1910), 4B. via Ancestry.com
  • 1920 U.S. census, MN, Swift County, Appleton, E.D. 174 (January 8-9, 1920), 7B. via Ancestry.com
  • 1930 U.S. census, MN, Swift County, Appleton, E.D. 76-2 (April 8, 1930), 11A. via Ancestry.com
  • 1940 U.S. census, CA, San Diego County, San Diego, E.D. 62-82 (April 8, 1930), 8A. via Ancestry.com

Sources for Adda Howie:

  • The Aberdeen Democrat (SD), February 15, 1907.
  • The Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review (Rapid City, SD), October 1, 1909.
  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), January 24, 1907.
  • Forest City Press (SD), November 8, 1906.
  • Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), October 1, 1909.
  • The Mitchell Capital (SD), February 1, 1907 and November 11, 1909.
  • The Day Book (Chicago, IL), April 23, 1912.
  • The Bemidji Daily Pioneer (MN), September 18, 1916.
  • The Breckenridge News (Cloverport, KY), July 31, 1918.
  • The Columbus Journal (NE), March 25, 1903.
  • The Evening Times (Grand Forks, ND), December 2, 1912.
  • The Minneapolis Journal (MN), February 8, 1902 and September 23, 1905.
  • The Ocala Evening Star (SD), December 3 and 9, 1919.
  • The Ohio Democrat (Logan, OH), October 12, 1905.
  • Omaha Daily Bee (NE), February 1, 1907.
  • Warren Sheaf (MN), August 21, 1913.
  • The Farmer’s Wife 16(8) (December 1913), 7. via Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections.
  • Gas Logic 19(6) (June 1916), 12. via Google Books
  • Illinois Farmers’ Institute. Annual Report. Vol. 8. Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., 1903.
  • 1880 U.S. census, WI, Waukesha County, Brookfield, E.D. 254 (June 15, 1880), 19. via Ancestry.com
  • Wisconsin State Census 1905, WI, Waukesha County, Brookfield, sheet 19.
  • 1910 U.S. census, WI, Waukesha County, Brookfield, E.D. 157 (April 16, 1910), 1B. via Ancestry.com
  • National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1640; Volume #: Roll 1640 – Certificates: 46500-46875, 03 Jun 1921-04 Jun 1921. via Ancestry.com
  • Adda F. Howie,” Find-a-Grave.com
  • Unger, Nancy C. Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History (Oxford University Press, 2012), 75-77.

Sources for Jessie Hoover:

  • The Aberdeen Democrat (SD), November 1, 1907.
  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), February 13, 1908.
  • Dakota Farmers’ Leader (SD), October 25, 1907.
  • Pierre Weekly Free Press (SD), October 3 and November 7, 1907.
  • Gibbs, Winifred Stuart. “What the Milk Industry Has Accomplished,” The American Food Journal 17(12) (December 1922), 13-16. via Google Books
  • Hoover, Jessie M. “Home Economics in the Agricultural College,” The Journal of Home Economics 4(2) (April 1912), 150-155. via Google Books
  • Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Convention of the Association of American Agricultural Colleges and Experiment Stations (Burlington VT: Free Press Printing Company, 1917), 8. via Google Books
  • Tenth Biennial Report of the Regents of Education of the State of South Dakota (Huron, SD: The Huronite, 1908), 86. via Google Books
  • The Agassiz. North Dakota Agricultural College yearbook (1911), 72. via Ancestry.com

Sources for Dale Pickler:

Sources for Venia Kellar:

  • Dakota Farmers’ Leader (Canton SD), January 14, 1916.
  • Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), October 26, 1919.
  • The Mitchell Capital (SD), December 18, 1913.
  • Turner County Herald (Hurley, SD), January 16, 1913, and December 17, 1914 (includes schedule and photos)-January 7, 1915.
  • The Washington Times (D.C.), February 11, 1917 and November 13, 1922.
  • Agnew, Mary A. Workers in Subjects Pertaining to Agriculture in Land-Grant Colleges and Experiment Stations. USDA Misc. Pub. #335 (Washington D.C.: GPO, April 1939), 3. via Google Books
  • Bulletin Numbers 26 to 50, University of Maryland, via Google Books.
  • IA Gen Web, text of obituary in Valentine Republican (NE), October 23, 1958.
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University catalog (May 1902), 79. via Google Books
  • Venia Merie [sic] Kellar,” Find-a-Grave.com.  Includes obituary text and photos.
  • Weaver, Gilbert S. Twenty-Five Years of Agricultural Education Work in South Dakota. Brookings: South Dakota State University, 1937. via SDSU’s openPRAIRIE system.

Sources for Gertrude Erickson:

  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), June 21, 1917.
  • The Glasgow Courier (MT), February 14, 1919-June 9, 1922.  The issue on February 11, 1921 includes her report of typical activities.
  • Hot Springs Weekly Star (SD), July 27, 1917.
  • Turner County Herald (Hurley, SD), December 17, 1914 (includes schedule and photos)-January 7, 1915.
  • Weaver, Gilbert S. Twenty-Five Years of Agricultural Education Work in South Dakota. Brookings: South Dakota State University, 1937. via SDSU’s openPRAIRIE system.
  • U.S. Census Bureau, Fourteenth U.S. Census, Glasgow, Valley County, Montana, ED #235 (January 1920), 14B.

Sources for Mrs. Charles B. McCoy:

  • The Daily Gate City (Keokuk, IA), February 21, 1913.
  • The Citizen-Republican (Scotland, SD), December 7, 1911.
  • Evening Times-Republican (Marshalltown, IA), March 20, 1913.
  • Fourteenth Census of the United States, San Diego, San Diego County, California, ED #267 (January 2, 1920), 1B.
  • Williams, Roy M. The Iowa Official Register for the Years 1913-1914 (Des Moines: Robert Henderson, 1913), 272. via Google Books

One thought on “Women of the South Dakota Farmers Institutes

  1. This was very interesting for me to come across. Nellie Chapman was my gg grandmother! Your article notes that different sources give different maiden names for her – “Nellie (Helen) Zebiah Barnett” and “Mary Wilaminia ‘Nellie’ Brown.” Both are correct. She was born Mary Wilaminia ‘Nellie’ Brown, but when her father (Silas Law Brown) died, she was given up for adoption and her name was changed. I actually have a copy of a letter that she wrote to the Dakota Farmer about that experience of being adopted was like for her. If you have copies of the sources you listed, I’d love to see them.


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