Can You Find a Farmerette?
Though my research into the Woman's Land Army was wide and deep, I know I've not uncovered all there is to know about this fascinating organization and the women who powered it.
Since the Land Army operated in so many places around the country, and involved women (and some enlightened men) on so many levels--both in the field and in the large network of organizers and supporters--there is more digging to do, pieces of the picture to find.
I hope that the interest sparked by Fruits of Victory will encourage readers and their friends to search for the "forgotten" WWI farmerettes in their families, in their cities or towns, and to look for the Land Army women who attended their schools or colleges.
The local historical society or library is the best first stop: many hold the official records of the area, and WWI civilian activities were meticulously recorded. Look for such headings as World War, 1914-1918: Council of Defense, Women's Committee and within that---Women's Participation, or Women's War Work. If you're lucky, there will be an entry for Food Production Committee--or perhaps even Woman's Land Army. State Archives are the next resource, looking under these same headings.
Universities and colleges hold their own institutional histories in their library Archives or Special Collections divisions. Often, there is an archivist or librarian who's an expert in the school's history and would be more than happy to help. Colleges which were once “normal schools”--specializing in teacher training--are also good candidates for finding Land Army material.
Finally, look in family histories, letters, journals and consult the member of your extended family who loves to do geneological research. Records available through Ancestors.com and Rootsweb might even yield some surprises. Remember: your family farmerette will not be found in military records---she was not in the U.S. military, despite her spiffy khaki uniform.
And do look in that box in the attic, the one with great grandma's letters to her sweetheart in the First World War; she may have written them from her cot in a Land Army camp. If you're really lucky, you might discover a brassard or belt buckle with a WLA insignia--perhaps even the full dress uniform. That would be a find!
We can use this page to share information on new Woman's Land Army discoveries and work together to expand public knowledge. Only WLA-relevant information, please.
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