Cows, Cars, and Criminals:
Rural Communities, Law, and Nation in the Twentieth Century
The dissertation explores how rural communities articulated rural identity through their use of law, and how the law worked to constitute the rural. It does this in the context of a twentieth century historiography that focuses on urbanization and suburbanization and a focus in legal scholarship on federal and state government. It asks, what is rural in an urban America?
1. The People’s Pendleton:
University of Iowa, Iowa Women's Archives
A rich collection of rural women's papers have been preserved at the Iowa Women's Archives. Currently, I am exploring the papers of Shirley Sandage, an advocate for migrant farm workers' rights in the 1960s.
State Historical Society of Iowa
From the State Historical Society of Iowa, I am reading the papers of Charles E. Pendleton. Pendleton was a small town lawyer between 1920 and 1970, and he wrote extensively about his experience of lawyering before WWII.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University's Special Collections and University Archives hold the papers of several early Latino studies professors. While these collections contain useful reports and academic studies, they also provide insight into the perspective of migrant workers not captured in the collections of government officials or religious outreach organizations.
Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State
I am reviewing several collections housed at the Reuther Library, including the Agricultural Workers History Collection and the Michigan Farmworker Ministry Coalition to explore outreach to rural Mexican-American migrant workers in the mid-twentieth century in Michigan and neighboring Midwestern states.
Wisconsin Historical Society
From the Wisconsin Historical Society, I am examining several collections pertaining to rural life, zoning, and education. Especially fruitful collections include the papers of Isabel Baumann, the papers of Raymond J. Penn, the Rural Women's Oral History Project, Professor Wileden's records for his Rural Community Analysis Course, and public service commission records for telephone utility lines.
Minnesota Historical Society
From the Minnesota Historical Society, I am working primarily with the collection of Margery Burns, a rural advocate, Republican, and Equal Rights Amendment supporter. A former rural teacher, she dedicated many years later in life to opposing rural school consolidation. She believed in the value of the small schools characteristic of rural education and was a serious advocate in opposing Minnesota legislation encouraging consolidation.
Bentley Library, University of Michigan
The library houses materials on Michigan history, including the 1950s records of the Michigan Migrant Ministry which worked in labor camps and conducted outreach on farms before labor organizers fought for the right to organize in labor camps. I am also reviewing the records of the Farm Labor Health Program in the Solomon Jacob Axelrod papers.