Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2005


Published in Great Plains Research 15:2 (Fall 2005). Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


In many ways Deborah Fitzgerald's Every Farm a Factory is a familiar story. Students of early twentieth-century American agriculture will find recognizable contours: mechanization, standardization, economies of scale, depopulation, professionalization, and a developing managerial mind-set. What makes Fitzgerald's work an invigorating contribution to the history of rural America is her framework. The new "opportunities and constraints" confronting farmers and their families in the 1920s, she argues, were not an accidental convergence.