A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

THURBER, TEXAS-The daily life of women in rural Texas has changed dramatically in the last 50 years. Modern conveniences have turned daily routines necessary for survival into hobbies or simply obsolete activities for many women.

To honor rural Texas women who lived in the mid-1900s, Tarleton State University’s W.K. Gordon Center is hosting a temporary exhibit for the 2010 summer. On loan from Humanities Texas, the exhibit is titled “Rural Texas Women at Work, 1930-1960” and will run from June 1 through Aug. 27.

Industrious and enterprising, rural Texas women performed the common tasks of housewives everywhere-cooking, housekeeping and laundry. In addition, they raised large gardens, tended flocks of poultry, canned and preserved food for their families, made and repaired furnishings, picked cotton, drove tractors and took over “men’s work” during World War II. As early as 1886, in the company-owned boomtown of Thurber, women from around the world immigrated, adapted, ran their households, worked in the stores and taught in the schools to make ends meet.

Drawn from files of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service archives at Texas A&M University, this exhibit uses photographs and explanatory texts to convey a sense of the lives of rural Texas women, helpful programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service and the changes that swept across rural Texas from the Great Depression to World War II.

Humanities Texas, formerly the Texas Council for the Humanities, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Humanities Texas conducts and supports public programs in history, literature, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines.

The Gordon Center, a museum and research facility, is located at exit 367 on Interstate 20 midway between Fort Worth and Abilene. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit is included in regular museum admission. For more information, call (254) 968-1886.