How Boy’s Corn Clubs and Girl’s Tomato Clubs Changed Rural America

In the early 1900s education in rural Americas was dismal. It was characterized by mindless devotion to the classics and rote memorization. What was taught was not relevant to most students.

Education is “as it was 60 years ago in our boyhood, so it is today in 99 out of 100 schools. Not a grain of progress that will help the country boy to a better understanding of the problem of agriculture.” That is how Hoard’s Dairyman characterized schooling in 1895

We need to abandon “the cut-and-dried formula of a period when a man was ‘educated’ only when he knew Greek and Latin” was how Wallace’s Farmer described the school curriculum in an editorial in 1908.

However, the emergence of Boy’s Corn Clubs and Girl’s Tomato clubs in the early 1900s changed schooling for the better. In this presentation, we explore how the Boy’s Corn Clubs and the Girl’s Tomato Clubs came into existence, how they impacted education, and how the clubs operated.

(Read about the presentation in The Chautauquan Daily – See page 3)