A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 50011
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Processed by: Jim Greve
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Home Demonstration Clubs (Prince Edward County, Va.) Records, 1926-1982. Accession 50011. Organization records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
Gift of Eunice Mottley, Burkeville.
In the summer of 1910, Miss Ella G. Agnew was made "State Agent for Girls' Tomato Clubs," by Dr. Seaman A. Knapp (1831-1911), under the auspices of the General Education Board. Agnew began to work with girls in Halifax and Nottoway Counties who planted tomatoes, cared for them, and preserved their fruit. Thus, the foundation was laid for home demonstration work in Virginia. The tomato clubs eventually became known as canning clubs, and enlisted other members of the family and gradually began to influence other phases of homemaking. In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act was passed by Congress, providing funds for cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics. Home demonstration work made a steady growth in Virginia from 1914 to 1917 in the number of agents employed and counties affected, and also in broadening programs. In Prince Edward County, Claudia Hagy was the first home demonstration agent, with an office at Hampden-Sydney. By 1923, there were four clubs in the county. As Farmville developed into a shopping and business center, the clubs established a "rest room" in the basement of the county courthouse where women could relax, obtain daycare while they shopped, and could read, eat, and enjoy other comforts. During the Depression, curb markets, where farm women could sell their surplus fruits and vegetables, provided a needed source of income. Other programs eventually were planned, and workshops were held in the areas of canning, gardening, home furnishings, clothing, crafts, meal preparation, health and nutrition, financial and legal matters, and home repair. The number of clubs in Prince Edward County eventually grew to twelve. They were organized locally, but depended on the Virginia extension service for program support. The home demonstration clubs ceased in 1975. Some continued to exist as their own independent clubs.
Records, 1926-1982, of the Home Demonstration Clubs in Prince Edward County, Virginia, including clippings, correspondence, extension agents' monthly and annual reports, financial reports, lists of members, committees, and attendees at various programs and workshops, photographs, and yearbooks. Also included are constitutions and by-laws, minutes of the Advisory Council, Home Demonstration Club, Home Making Board, and Program Planning Committee. There are also histories of home demonstration work, and a national directory and handbook (1964).
This collection is arranged chronologically by year.