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Preserving the Family Farm Women, Community, and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900-1940 by Mary C. Neth

Preserving the Family Farm Women, Community, and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900-1940

Part of the Revisiting Rural America Series


Preserving the Family Farm Women, Community, and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900-1940 by Mary C. Neth

Between 1900 and 1940 American family farming gave way to what came to be called agribusiness. Government policies, consumer goods aimed at rural markets, and the increasing consolidation of agricultural industries all combined to bring about changes in farming strategies that had been in use since the frontier era. Because the Midwestern farm economy played an important part in the relations of family and community, new approaches to farm production meant new patterns in interpersonal relations as well. In Preserving the Family Farm Mary Neth focuses on these relations-of gender and community-to shed new light on the events of this crucial period.


Neth does not romanticize the hard work of farming in its less industrial stage; nor does she smooth over the deep division of class, race and ethnicity that existed in rural communities. Her careful and very human portrayal of the impact of these circumstances on the lives of farm women and men provides insight into the complexity of such communities, illustrating how the intersection of home, work and community is constantly changing, negotiable and gendered. -- Cornelia Butler Flora * Women's Review of Books * This book is not just for historians but also for those who care about rural people and places and their meaning for America. * Minnesota History * In this fine book, Mary Neth looks at the economic and cultural world of farm people... She writes from the inside, showing us its attractions and especially its dependence on family and engagement with community... Her book, like the farmers she writes about, defends a world that does not share the dominant American values. She is to be congratulated. She has done a thorough, thoughtful, and provocative job of it. -- Annette Atkins * American Historical Review * Preserving the Family Farm is well written, meticulously researched, and extremely useful for anyone interested in agricultural, rural, midwestern, or women's history. Neth does a good job of making abstract issues personal... Neth has done much to refocus rural history and give it a richness that it should, but often does not, have. -- Pamela Riney-Kehrberg * Journal of American History *

About the Author

Mary C. Neth is associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th November 1998


Mary C. Neth

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Johns Hopkins University Press


368 pages


Rural communities
Agriculture & related industries
History of the Americas
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
Social & cultural history



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