Woman's Land Army of America, ca WWI
The creation of the Woman's Land Army of America in WWI enabled nearly 20,000 urban women to enter America's agricultural sector to work as ordinary wage laborers between 1917 and 1921. The active recruitment of urban women into a government-sanctioned, formally-organized, and (largely) female-managed workforce to labor in physically demanding tasks such as sowing and harvesting, was a revolutionary and - to some – a disconcerting idea. That these women were also young, college-educated, and lived in community with other like-minded women outside the authority of men challenged traditional stereotypes relating to women's role and work all the more. The relationship to gardening? The WLAA's work began at the Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women at Ambler (now part of Temple University).
This presentation, based on a chapter of VictoryGrower Hayden-Smith's dissertation, was delivered at UC Santa Barbara in March, 2007.
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