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Putting the Barn Before the HouseWomen and Family Farming in Early Twentieth-Century New York$
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Grey Osterud

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450280

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450280.001.0001

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The Nanticoke Valley in the Early Twentieth Century

(p.1) Introduction
Putting the Barn Before the House

Grey Osterud

Cornell University Press

This book explores the history of the rural community of the Nanticoke Valley, south-central New York, through the voices and viewpoints of local women born before World War I who lived on family farms. In particular, it looks at the socioeconomic conditions that had enabled the women of the Nanticoke Valley to lead lives that suited them so well. It examines the structural and sociological factors that accounted for the remarkable degree of gender equality and neighborly cooperation in the Nanticoke Valley. It also analyzes rural women's perspectives on gender and generational relations during what Hal Barron, a social historian, calls the second great transformation of rural society. This Introduction traces fundamental changes in Nanticoke's agricultural economy, especially the trend toward combining farming with urban wage-earning. It also considers emergent patterns in rural society, including the relationships between natives and newcomers that developed as many families departed and immigrants arrived in open-country neighborhoods.

Keywords:   rural community, Nanticoke Valley, rural women, family farms, gender equality, cooperation, rural society, agricultural economy, farming, immigrants

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