Historical Women

I’m often asked, who are my women farmer role models.  I can think of awesome women farmers who are currently farming but I start to draw a blank when I try to think of women farmers who blazed the agricultural trail back in the day.

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Jessie Lopez De La Cruz 1919-2013

So this past March in honor of Women’s History month I decided that I would post photos of women farmers of yesteryear on Quarter Acre’s facebook page.

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Mary Treat 1830-1923

I had grand visions of posting a woman a day and finishing the month with 31 historical women farmers.

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Elizabeth White 1871-1954

Well this project turned out to be harder than I thought.  A simple google search doesn’t really give you any results.  Instead, searching for lady farmers involved a lot more digging.

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Juanita Nelson 1923-2015

I found many by searching for the men they were compared to.  For example Theodosia Shepherd who founded the California seed industry is labeled the female Luther Burbank.

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Theodosia B. Shepherd 1845-1906

I also realized that it was hard to track down women farmers because that occupation was not consider something of note.

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Eva Kenworthy Gray 1863-1951

Many of the women farmers I was able to find were typically listed in the history books for something else and farming was only mentioned as an after thought.

Mary Elizabeth Lease 1850-1933

Such as Alva Belmont  who holds a place in history books because she was a socialite and suffragette. But Alva happen to also be the founder of a training school for female farmers, which I learned from various newspaper articles from the 1900’s.

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Alva Belmont 1853-1933


I researched as much as could with any free time had in front of the computer but by the end of the month I had only found a total of 12 wonderful women.

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Maxidiwiac aka Buffalo Bird Woman 1839-1932

It is not a very large number but it pique my interest in continuing to learn more about agricultural women of the past.

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Anna Larroucau Laborde de Lucero 1864-1956
igay farmer
Igay Duana 1921-2002
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Helen Nearing 1904-1995

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