Images of Rural Women


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The following collection of images is intended to provide a more comprehensive view of rural women and their pursuits.


The Prairie Is My Garden
Painting by Harvey Dunn
This image illustrates how rural women siezed the wild and made it their home.  I chose this image because the woman exudes a strength and beauty equal to her surroundings. 
Image taken from Laura Ingalls Wilder Country: The People and Places in Laura Ingalls Wilder's life and Books, by William Anderson 
Original source: the South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings

 
The Madonna of the Prairie
This painting was done in 1921 by W.H.D. Koerner.
I chose this image because of the nature of the subject.  The pioneer woman is represented as a pure being through the obvious comparison to the Virgin Mother.  This classification illustrates how women were often viewed in the late nineteenth century.
The image was taken from www.google.com using the search term "prairie women."
Original source of image can be found at: www.calneva.com/gallery/ madonna.htm
Accessed April 6, 2003

 
Women Threshers
Threshing was one of the most important and trying tasks of rural people. It was part of taking in the yearly harvest.  Threshing had to be done so that wheat could be sold for income.  Threshing, like other farm work, was typically seen as men's work, but this photograph demonstrates that women played a role in carrying out the critical task.
Image taken from www.k12connections.iptv.org/community/ resourceGallery.cfm found through www.google.com using the search term "farm women."  This photo is from 1900.
Accessd April 6, 2003

 
Pioneer woman tending to two cows. 
I chose this image to illustrate that rural women did perform daily tasks outside of the home.  Although they were often seen as mere helpers on the farm, women and girls often tended to livestock on a daily basis and were essential in keeping aspects of the farm operating smoothly.  Image found using www.google.com with the search term "pioneer women."  Original source: www.library.wisc.edu/etext/WIReader/ Contents/Pioneer.html
Accessed April 12, 2003.

 
The Chrisman sisters on a claim in the Goheen settlement in Custer County, Nebraska. 
These women took their own homestead, timber, and preemption claims in Nebraska.  I chose this image to illustrate the independence seen among women in the Midwest and Great Plains, 1865 - 1900.  At a time when not many women had access to land ownership, these women took on the challenging task of claiming and managing their own homestead.
 Photograph by Solomon D. Butcher, 1886
Image taken from American Memory http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/
Accessed April 6, 2003

 
Ladies Aid at the Nels Grovom farm, Park River, N.D.ca. 1897
Although this image is of somewhat poor quality, I selected it to demonstrate how Ladies Aid Societies often brought together all members of a community and thus, fostered community bonding and development.
Image taken from American Memory
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collections 
Accessed April 19, 2003

 
Women's Auxiliary of the Woodman's Lodge, Ansley, Nebraska
This photograph demonstrates the fact that women's groups at this time were often formed as subsidiaries to male organizations because women did not yet have the right or privilege to participate as full and active members in many male societies. 
Photograph by Solomon D. Butcher, ca. 1890
Image taken from American Memory 
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/
The Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs and Family Letters, 1862-1912 Collection
Accessed April 19, 2003

 
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Brianne Peck '04
peckbe@lfc.edu
Lake Forest College
History 300: Theory and Methods
Professor Michael Ebner
Last Updated: April 23, 2003