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- Community Civics and Rural Life - 20/88 -

takes a great interest in her club work. The family home was small, dark, and crowded, and somewhat unattractive. One day a carpenter friend of her father saw her one tenth of an acre and said he wished he had time to plant a garden. She told him she would furnish vegetables in exchange for some of his time. ... After a while a bargain was made by which the carpenter agreed to begin work on the remodeling of the house if Ruth would furnish him with fresh and canned vegetables for the season.

The other members of the family were soon interested in this undertaking and worked willingly to contribute their share to its success. When the house was partly finished Ruth won a canning- club prize given by a hardware merchant in Gadsden, the county seat. Silverware was offered her, but, intent upon completing the new house she asked the merchant how much a front door of glass would cost, and learned that she could get the door, side lights, and windows for the price of the silverware. In this way Ruth brought light and joy to her family with her windows and door. To- day they live in a pretty bungalow that she helped to build with her gardening and canning work. At the age of 14, in the second year of her work, Ruth put up 700 cans of tomatoes and 750 cans of beans. [Footnote: "Effect of Home Demonstration Work in the South," in 1916 Year Book of the Department of Agriculture, p. 254.]

Ruth's home before and after she began her work is shown in the accompanying illustrations.


The national government helps in home making in other ways than those suggested above, and through other departments than that of agriculture. In the Department of the Interior the General Land Office, the Bureau of Education, the Reclamation Service, the Office of Indian Affairs are all doing work to improve the homes of the land. So, also, is the Public Health Service of the Treasury Department; the Bureau of Standards in the Department of Commerce; the Children's Bureau in the Department of Labor. We shall encounter some of this work as we proceed with our study.

In what ways has household work been relieved of its drudgery since your mothers were girls?

What labor-saving devices have been introduced in your home?

Make a report on labor-saving inventions for the household (see references at end of chapter).

What are some labor-saving household devices that could be made by boys and girls (such as fireless cookers, iceless refrigerators, etc.)? (See references below). Can your school help in such projects? To what extent could (or do) boys' and girls' clubs undertake such projects? Is there any leader in your community who could direct or advise in such projects?

Is the kitchen in your home properly arranged to save steps, labor, and time in doing kitchen work? Consider plans for improvement. Consult parents.

Does experience in your community confirm the feeling of the women quoted on page 104?

Are there any cooperative enterprises in your community that relieve the housekeeper of household labor, such as cooperative laundries, creameries, etc.? Are they a business success? Have they improved conditions of home life?

What is the difference between a "cooperative" laundry and an ordinary laundry such as may be found in most towns? Does one relieve the home more than the other?

What other business enterprises are carried on in towns that relieve the home of work? Why are such business enterprises not conducted in the same way in rural communities?

Is there any special interest in home improvement in your community? Who or what has brought it about? What can you do to encourage such interest?


"Lessons in Community and National Life": Series C, Lesson 20, "The Family and Social Control."

For an extensive list of titles of publications relating to the home, send to the United States Bureau of Education for its Bulletin, 1919, No. 46, "Bibliography of Home Economics," especially section VIII on "The Family," and section X on "The House and Household Activities." Among the many titles given in this are:

Earle, Alice Morse, "Home Life in Colonial Days" (Macmillan).

Gillette, J. M., "The Family and Society" (A. C. McClurg).

Thwing and Butler, "The Family" (Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Co.).

Gilman, Charlotte P., The Home (Doubleday, Page and Co.).

Talbot and Breckenridge, "The Modern Household" (Whitcomb and Barrows, Boston).

Addams, Jane, The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (Macmillan).

Ellwood, Charles A., "Sociology and Modern Social Problems," chapters on the family (American Book Co.).

Scott, Rhea, "Home Labor-Saving Devices" (Lippincott).

Foght, H. W., "The Rural Teacher and his Work," Part I, chap. iii.

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Secretary, Reports 103, 104, 105, 106:

"Social and Labor Needs of Farm Women." "Domestic Needs of Farm Women." "Educational Needs of Farm Women." "Economic Needs of Farm Women."

These reports can be obtained only from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, 15 cents each.

"The American Farm Woman as She Sees Herself," U. S. Department of Agriculture Year Book, 1914, pp. 311-318.

"Selection of Household Equipment," Department of Agriculture Year Book 1914, pp. 330-362.

Dunn, Arthur W., "The Community and the Citizen," chaps, v, vi.



Our nation requires healthy citizens, intelligent citizens, prosperous and happy citizens. The home can do more to produce them than any other community agency. Therefore the nation is wise to look after its homes.


People cannot do their work well if they live in unwholesome or unpleasant homes. This was made clear during the recent war. The lack of suitable living places for workmen and their families was one of the chief obstacles to shipbuilding and munitions manufacture during the early part of the war. England found this out as well as the United States, and one of the first things both countries had to do was to take measures to provide proper home conditions for those who were engaged in supplying the nation's needs. During the first year of the war our Congress appropriated $200,000,000 to build houses for industrial workers.

The problem of securing good physical conditions of home life has naturally been greatest in crowded industrial centers, but it is by no means absent in small communities, or even in the open country. One writer describes a certain farmhouse where five people were accustomed to sleep in one not very large bedroom, which had only one small window, and even that was nailed shut, one of these five had incipient tuberculosis. These people were well-to-do farmers, living in a large twelve-room, stone house and simply crowded into one room for the sake of mistaken economy-- presumably to save coal and wood.

Many such cases could be described, not only in the more remote and backward regions, but even in prosperous farming communities.

What is the result of this overcrowding and lack of proper housing in the country? Just exactly the same as in the great cities--lack of efficiency, disease, and premature death to many ... While the great majority of people subjected to overcrowding and bad housing conditions do not prematurely die, yet they have a lessened physical and mental vigor, are less able to do properly their daily work, and not only become a loss to themselves and their families, but to the state ... [Footnote: Bashore, "Overcrowding and defective housing in the rural districts," quoted in Nourse, AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS, pp. 118, 119, 121.]


Some of our states and many of our cities have laws to regulate housing conditions, but such laws seldom apply to small communities. In cities where people live crowded together in closely built city blocks, unsanitary conditions in one home endanger the health of the entire community. There is also danger from fire, and vice and crime may breed and spread quickly and unseen. The community is driven, therefore, in its own defense, to regulate the people's housing. In small communities, and especially in rural communities, where homes are more widely separated and in some cases quite isolated, it has seemed of little concern to others how one citizen builds his home and what he does in it. Thoughtful consideration of such cases as that described above, however, must convince us that it IS a matter of national concern what happens even in remote homes. Both the physical and the economic strength of the nation are undermined by

Community Civics and Rural Life - 20/88

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