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Scrapbooks donated to the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archive

Recently, Pearl River County Extension Office donated 12 Home Demonstration and/or Homemaker Club Scrapbooks dating 1949 through 1983 from various communities in Pearl River County, Mississippi to the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archives/Library on Williams Avenue. As I went through these scrapbooks, I relived the events as they took place. I was personally delighted and proud to have a glimpse of our Picayune and surrounding area ladies and myself showing off many of our domestic accomplishments and the process we went through to receive not only our family’s, but the public recognition and many other awards. I was also saddened with the loss of many of these ladies and friends due to their deaths.

I hope if any of their families have a loved one or friend that was a member of a Home Demonstration/Homemakers Club during the above years, they will stop by the Archive and look through the books as they contain lots of newspaper articles with pictures and some books have original photographs. Being one of the hundreds of participants of Homemaker Clubs, I can only say it was a remarkable experience and a lasting teaching experience. What a thrill it was to enter our local PRC competitions, then District Council at Jones Junior College in Ellisville and lastly State Council at Mississippi State University in Starkville.

Just a little history about how we began. In the early 1900’s or twentieth century, Home Demonstration Clubs became an essential part of the U. S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. Going beyond the realm of individual families, the clubs became sources of self and home improvement, communication, education, and charity in ones community. The women took their newly honed skills and reached out to their communities not only as sources of information but the giving of service to them. While the Home Demonstration programs did not reach our county until the middle of 1900, it didn’t take long until they caught on and clubs sprouted up all over in the different communities.

Now about some of our local clubs and their activities, we have at the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archives some of the scrapbooks of the learning and giving to our communities. One of the youngest clubs in Pearl River County was organized in 1949 as the “Union Home Demonstration Club” of Picayune. Their monthly meetings were held occasionally in members homes, but during the school months they were held in the Old Union School on Airport Road. Officers at this time were: President: Mrs. Lawrence (Trula) Seal; Vice President: Mrs. Edward (Ma) Mills; Secretary-Treasurer: Mrs. Robert Johnston. During this time, Mrs. Lanell Gaddis was the Pearl River County Extension Agent and for the years of 1949, 1950, & 1951. The scrapbook for this period is very fragile and has been copied and put in a binder for viewing. In 1974 Miss Mary Greenwich followed Mrs. Gaddis as the MS State Extension Home Economist. She later married Roland Hough of Poplarville. There were 15 clubs spreading all over Pearl River County.

The following are the scrapbooks and the name of the ladies that compiled them which are now at the HHMA: 1973 Cultural Arts by Mrs. Wilma Roberts, 1974 Cultural Arts by Mrs. Joycelyn Pearson, 1978 Public Relations by Velma Downes, 1979 Public Relations by Velma Downes, 1979 Energy Cost Cutting by Mary Ann Penouilh, 1980 Public Relations by Irene Donaldson, 1980 Cultural Arts by Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert, 1980 Family Living and Child Development by Mrs Ollie Mae Daughdrill, 1981 Busy Bees President Report by Joyce Carmichael, 1981 24 Members Scrapbook by Zoe Majors, 1981 PRC Council Public Relations by Irene Donaldson, 1983 PRC Cultural Arts and Textiles by Frances Tynes.

These books are a treasure with too many names mentioned or shown in the photos and clippings. Some of the county clubs during these years were: Town & Country, Busy Bees, Poplarville Variety, White Chapel, Go Getters, Thimble, Handy, Willing workers, Happy Onward, and Eager Beavers/Magnolia Blossoms.

Visit the Hilda Hoffman Memorial Archive we will be happy to show you these Scrapbooks. Our hours are Mon. thru Fri. 10 am  to 3 pm at 301 Williams Avenue,

By Gloria Harrison Penton