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This work includes all of the volumes listed below plus the Index of "Memories of Hoosier Homemakers". The volumes are: "Buggies and Bad Times", "Feeding Our Families", "Girlhood Days", "Going to Club", "Living Rich Lives", and "Party Lines, Pumps, and Privies".
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Memories of Hoosier Homemakers, a set of oral histories based upon interviews with members of both the National Extension Homemakers Council and the Indiana Extension Homemakers Council, is an ambitious and revealing project. Begun by the Indiana Extension and then adopted by the national organization to celebrate their 50th anniversay, this project collected interviews, primarily with women, concerning the activities of their daily lives in the 20th century. These women were homemakers whose social contact was primarily through the homemakers' organization. Presentation of the testimony in the volumes is by question and answer in broad categories, with the women's actual words printed after the question. Many of the testimonies are rich and exceptionally exemplary of rural womens' lives. Topics discussed include food preparation, canning, changes in home technology, childhood responsibilities, illnesses, families, courtship, voting, participation in organizations, and the effects of world events. Each volume in the series is given a short, three-to-four-page introduction discussing the significance of the subject covered in that value. Also contained in each volume are multitudes of wonderful photographs. However, there are a few problems. The series does not include a list of questions asked of all participants, and the method of choosing participants is unclear; interviewers were charged with interviewing a small and varied number of individuals in each county. All the volumes are indexed by both interviewer and interviewee. The master index (not seen) is to include topical and quotation references. Voices of American Homemakers presents excerpts of taped interviews with homemakers from all over the United States. Its introduction is disappointing as it is nearly identical to the Indiana volumes and does not place the women's valuable testimony in a greater context. Despite the drawbacks cited, these volumes are essential for every library in the Midwest and larger libraries throughout the United States. They are both fun to read and valuable to the researcher.
- Jenny Presnell, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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