Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives

Women, Country Life, and Early Rural Sociological Research

By (author) Julie N. Zimmerman, Olaf F. Larson

Hardback - £53.95

Publication date:

16 December 2010

Length of book:

240 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037288

Building on their analysis in Sociology in Government (Penn State, 2003), Julie Zimmerman and Olaf Larson again join forces across the generations to explore the unexpected inclusion of rural and farm women in the research conducted by the USDA’s Division of Farm Population and Rural Life. Existing from 1919 to 1953, the Division was the first, and for a time the only, unit of the federal government devoted to sociological research. The authors explore how these early rural sociologists found the conceptual space to include women in their analyses of farm living, rural community social organization, and the agricultural labor force.

Opening Windows onto Hidden Lives is essential reading for anyone interested in rural women's studies, and particularly rural women's history. Zimmerman and Larson have painstakingly excavated a treasure trove of materials vital to an informed understanding of American farm women in the first half of the twentieth century. Although the work in its entirety is impressive and very useful, the annotated bibliography alone makes the book worth reading.”

—Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Iowa State University; author of Childhood on the Farm: Work, Play, and Coming of Age in the Midwest