MS 208 - Fulton County Home Agent Records
|Title||MS 208 - Fulton County Home Agent Records|
The records of the Fulton County Home Agent date from 1936 to 1965. The history and activities of the rural extension service in Fulton County are reflected in one cubic foot of annual reports.
The records were donated to the Women's Studies Archives Project of the Center for Archival Collections in December 1981 through the cooperation of Shirley Woodworth, Fulton County Extension Agent, and Jill Gates Smith, Field Specialist for the WSAP. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and scholarly research. The register was prepared by Paulette Weiser, Graduate Assistant for the WSAP.
Agricultural agents have served Fulton County since 1918, when Arthur Cave was hired by the Farm Bureau in that capacity. Boys and girls clubs and crop and livestock improvement activities began as a result of the implementation of extension work. However, extension programs greatly expanded in the 1930's as a result of the Depression and the Dust Bowl conditions of that time which led to the movement toward soil conservation and more improvements in agriculture, rural electrification, and rural life.
In April 1936, the first county home agent was funded for Fulton County through state and federal appropriations. The stated aim of the home demonstration agent in 1936 was "to give information, help and advice insofar as it is practical to improve the standards of health, both physical and mental, and of living conditions by raising the financial status...by better management of income and resources." The home agent was to cooperate with the County Agent in planning extension activities "with no regard to social or economic stata."
Ernestine Reed Herd was the first to fill the position and worked from December 1936 to May 1937. Dorothea Kurtz Sparrow took her place in June 1937 and served until July 1943. Joan Roller Enright replaced Sparrow in the same month and worked until August 1946. Virginia Hill began as home agent in July 1946 and resigned in march 1949. Tyyni M. Niemi Hummel took over in July 1949 and worked, as far as can be determined through 1965, the date of the last annual report in the collection.
New 4-H and homemakers clubs were organized to add to those already operating in 1936. A Home Council was organized in the same year with representation from each township to plan programs and activities for the homemakers' clubs and to encourage leadership and self-government. A 4-H Club Council already had been organized for the same purpose. Groups of older youth, out of school and single, were organized in 1937 and a Youth Council created for them in 1939.
The home agent coordinated the activities of all the councils and clubs, brought in experts for lectures and demonstrations, lectured and demonstrated herself, gave radio and television presentations, spoke to various community groups, directed publicity, and judged contests and fairs.
Programs for youth and adult clubs included such topics as nutrition, clothing, home furnishings, home and farm management, crops, livestock, and community affairs, with child development and family relations later additions.
Extension agents and clubs still are an active part of rural life in Fulton County, and continue to be instrumental in keeping participants up-to-date in new products and techniques relative to home and farm.
|Scope and Content|
The records of the Fulton County Home Agent document the history and activities of extension work from 1936 through 1965, with gaps in 1944 and 1945, 1953 through 1962, and 1964. The annual reports include statistical and narrative reports of the year's activities of extension agents and clubs and also give some background information.
The reports include statements on policy, procedure, and organization plus reports of programs and demonstrations on food preparation and preservation, nutrition, grooming, clothing construction and care, home furnishing and care, home and farm management and economics, gardening and landscaping, crops, livestock, conservation, and community affairs, and participation in county and state fairs, achievement days, tours, camps, picnics, and Homemakers' Chorus. Child development and family relations were topics added later. Also included are information on publicity, examples of letters mailed out, some photographs, and maps with club locations. The agent also reported on talks given to meetings of the Farm Bureau, Farmers' Institutes, garden and literary clubs, home economics classes and Future Homemakers of America, Granges, YWCA, and a Child Study Group, and cooperation with the Red Cross, County Health Nurse, and Victory Garden program, and Tuberculosis and Crippled Children Drives. Recommendations were made for the improvement of extension programs.
The earlier narrative reports also cover such topics as changes in the crops grown and livestock raised, women working, seasonal labor, industry, strikes, strike-idle workers, economic conditions, farm ownership, average farm size, gross farm income, home and farm improvements, wartime shortages and programs, geological formation of the county, early drainage techniques, and population distribution. The report for 1939 includes a copy of the report of the county agent for 1918, the first year such a position existed.
A combined statistical report with the county agricultural agent included periodically through the 1940's contains numerical information on clubs, members, demonstrations and meetings, home visits, phone calls, publicity, tours, achievement days, camps, farm and home management, weed control, game conservation, soil testing, and youth projects in crops, gardening, livestock, poultry, and bees. Together the reports contain a wide variety of economic and sociological data.