Great Plains Studies, Center for


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Marilyn Irvin Holt describes Linoleum, Better Babies, and the Modern Farm Woman, 1890- 1930 as a study of "the domestic economy movement and the rural women it targeted." Focusing on the Dakotas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, she examines the many ways in which reformers worked to improve life on American farms through education and uplift programs for American farm women and their children. These efforts included the establishment of home extension programs, home economics education, and 4-H programs, among others. Their goals were the physical improvement of the farm home and the farm child, with the intent of keeping families on the farm. Although these efforts failed to stem the flow of population from country to city, the programs persisted; many still serve farming families today. Holt argues that not all rural women embraced these programs, though many did, and those who did shaped the programs to their own needs and desires.