Canning Tomatoes, Growing “Better and More Perfect Women”

Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt

"Tomato Club. Tomato Club. See how we can. See how we can. Give us tomatoes and a good sharp knife—This is the place to get a good wife. Did ever you see such girls in your life—As the Tomato Club?" —Tomato Club Song, c. 1914

The Girls’ Tomato Club Movement

In 1909, Marie Samuella Cromer, a young rural schoolteacher in the western South Carolina town of Aiken, heard a speech about Seaman A. Knapp’s boys’ corn clubs that were transforming southern crop yields. Knapp, a scholar originally from the Midwest but working in Texas and the larger South, created the blueprint for the turn-of-the-century U.S. Department of Agriculture outreach programs and the national agricultural extension service. He believed in training local farmers to teach their peers and youth to teach their families in more efficient methods for rural life. Most of the early experiments under his leadership began with men and boys. According to Cromer, she raised her hand to ask, “But what are we doing for the farm girls?” She was not the first audience member across the South to ask such a question, but what made Cromer different was what she did next. By 1910, she had successfully organized a girls’ tomato club so that the girls would “not learn simply how to grow better and more perfect tomatoes, but how to grow better and more perfect women.”2 The tomato clubs (which were never really about getting wives, despite the song lyric) and the women who organized them wanted southern food to transform southern society—but not from the top down. Rather, by targeting girls, arguably the most disenfranchised family members, the tomato club movement worked explicitly from the grass—or garden—roots up.

The tomato clubs. . . and the women who organized them wanted southern food to transform southern society.

From its beginning in South Carolina in 1910 to its heyday between 1911 and World War I, under the pioneering direction of South Carolina’s Cromer and four other former teachers and women’s club members, North Carolina’s Jane S. McKimmon, Mississippi’s Susie Powell, Virginia’s Ella Agnew, and Tennessee’s Virginia Moore, the girl’s tomato club movement swept the southern United States. Singing songs and adopting mottoes, white and African American girls, ages twelve to eighteen, planted 1/10-acre individual plots, worked in groups to can their harvests, and then marketed their wares locally and nationally. Girls’ club work filled columns in magazines and newspapers from the New York Times to the Progressive Farmer; as an Oklahoma paper asked rhetorically in 1915, “If somebody were to tell you that a group of little country girls who never have been near a big city have built up a business so large and important that papers all over the country are telling about it, you would think it was a new kind of fairy tale, now wouldn’t you?”3 However poorly known today, that fairy tale of girls’ economic success helped put very real money in girls’ pockets, some of which went toward pretty dresses and fun but much of which they spent on education for future jobs. Tomato clubs also allowed girls to learn from industrial food production and to master modern technology, and they even fostered interracial cooperation at a time of entrenched segregation.

“If somebody were to tell you that a group of little country girls who never have been near a big city have built up a business so large and important that papers all over the country are telling about it, you would think it was a new kind of fairy tale, now wouldn’t you?”—Oklahoma Farmer, August 25, 1915

This essay appears in Southern Cultures Vol. 15, No. 4: The Edible South.

A young 4-H member demonstrates canning, c. 1940, courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.008.100 Item 0014720, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries.

The tomato club movement is part of a larger story of gender, southern food, and agricultural clubs. In the first decades of the twentieth century, along with the early corn and tomato clubs, youth soon could join clubs for poultry, sewing, hog, and even cotton production. Tomato clubs themselves evolved into more general canning clubs as girls planted their acres with other vegetables and fruits. The federal Smith-Lever Act of 1914 paved the way for extension agencies in every state; after the establishment of home demonstration agencies, the workers who previously oversaw the tomato clubs began to work even more with adult women. As home demonstrators entered adult farmwomen’s homes to show them new household technologies or practices, work with girls moved ever more under the new umbrella of 4-H, which served boys as well. The focus shifted away from the profit-making potential of tomatoes to other home skills, statewide conferences and gatherings, and extra-curricular activities. Agents established offices in the network of land-grant colleges across the South, and the reporting and support of the work became ever more centralized. Food conservation measures federally mandated by the war allowed (in the case of Powell and McKimmon) and forced (in the case of some Mississippi and Arkansas counties, for instance) the work to expand among African Americans. By the 1920s, many of the first tomato club girls were graduating from college with newly minted home economics degrees and many took positions as demonstration agents themselves.4 In contrast to the earliest tomato club messages of empowerment and radical social change, the movement changed over the century to be more traditional in its vision of home, family, gender, and economics.

Home Demonstration pioneer Jane S. McKimmon (right) traveled to New York for the radio dramatization of her life story on NBC’s “Cavalcade of America” and met with her successor, State Home Demonstration Agent Ruth Current (left), and Academy Award-winning actress Jane Darwell. Photograph courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.009.011 Item 0000039, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries.

The Tomato Club Reports at the North Carolina Division of Archives, however, suggest there was much more to the initial tomato club movement than ribbons and tradition. Cromer outlined the report format early on: “Make a cover design which will, in a neat and attractive manner indicate just what can be found within the book . . . Use water-color paints, if possible . . . Bind the book at the top with red or green satin baby ribbon or card . . . Whenever possible illustrate your story as you proceed.” She suggested girls address “the life history of the tomato,” the history of the individual girl’s club, the “object of Girls’ Tomato Club,” and “why you enrolled.” The rest of the report could cover “tomato facts” and anything “that will help a tomato grower.” McKimmon added a standardized U.S. Department of Agriculture form, narrative description of the crop’s planting, fertilizing, and staking, the season’s weather, and the girl’s future plans. Accordingly, girls carefully listed harvests, cans, expenses, and profits, and along the way they also wrote about their hopes and dreams.5

Dozens of brightly painted, beribboned, and bound reports sent to “Mrs. McKimmon” from girls all across rural North Carolina brought the tomato clubs and the girls’ concerns vividly to life. Charlotte Yoder’s report showed how tomatoes were money, as sure as dimes or dollars; Sallie Jones’s document testified about the tomato as technology; and a photograph of three African American girls suggests the role that tomato clubs played in early interracial cooperation.

Charlotte Yoder’s Checkbook

Charlotte Yoder tied her cover with a fuchsia ribbon and drew a large tomato on it with colored pencils. Yoder was only twelve years old when she became a tomato club girl, and she wrote like a girl whose thoughts moved faster than her pen: run-on sentences, underlined words, and sporadic punctuation. She was consistent, though, in her overall message: tomatoes equaled money—a new concept for this farm girl outside Hickory in the western North Carolina foothills. Money, in fact, was the subject of her opening sentence: “I joined the tomato club because I had never had any money except what my mother gave me and I did not feel like that was mine.” She continued on the same note: “When the tomato club agent came to our schoolhouse and told us about club girls making money I wanted to join.” Tomatoes were an attractive option for Yoder, because she was limited in what she could do to raise money: “I have lots of work to do at home helping mama and I have an invalid brother that I wait on most of the time.” Her report detailed her crop, the weather, and her battles with bugs. Nonetheless, that first year she produced “88 cans of tomatoes for sale,” clearly a success to her.6

Yields like Yoder’s (and much higher ones) have to be attributed in part to the tomato itself. Tomatoes grew well in the soil and climate of the South. In the Carolinas, Cromer and McKimmon had argued and convincingly documented that more profit could be made from systematically canning tomatoes than other crops. Further, tomatoes’ acid made them forgiving items to can; even under less than ideal circumstances (as often was the case with beginners working outside on makeshift tables) canned tomatoes were less likely to spoil than sugary fruits or fresh meats. After canning, the end product also tasted good, which obviously predisposed people to purchase and consume them. Furthermore, tomatoes did not require heavy machinery to plant or harvest (unlike, say, grains). They were easy garden plants for young girls to handle, and, judging from their output, handle them they did.

Yoder’s eighty-eight cans, so significant to her, were actually modest compared to other tomato club girls. Cromer’s first South Carolina champion, Katie Gunter, produced 512 cans and $35 profit. In their first year, McKimmon’s 440 girls produced 70,000 cans and realized an average profit per girl of $14.75. (In today’s money, that is roughly equivalent to $330.00.) In the 1913 season, the program’s second year, North Carolina tomato clubs had grown to include 1,500 girls; there were 2,914 in the third year, by which time the girls were averaging $39.90 in profit and producing a total state profit of $75,256.43. According to Mary Creswell, who began as Georgia’s state agent and was later appointed to oversee Home Demonstration at the usda, 32,613 girls were enrolled from across the South by the 1915 season, producing “5,023,305 pounds of tomatoes” and “1,262,953 pounds of other vegetables and fruits.” By the 1917 season, North Carolina girls had produced an astounding 8,778,262 containers and by 1920, with the transition well underway to 4-H Clubs and home demonstration, club girls together numbered as many as 500,000 nationally.7

Dozens of brightly painted, beribboned, and bound reports sent to “Mrs. McKimmon” from girls all across rural North Carolina vividly revealed the tomato clubs and girls’ concerns. Twelve-year-old Charlotte Yoder, who tied her cover (left) with a fuchsia ribbon and drew a large tomato on it with colored pencils, wrote about how tomatoes equaled money—a new concept for this farm girl. Sallie Jones of Alamance County—“Club No. 3, Member No. 7,” as she called herself—illustrated her tomato booklet (right) neither with her crop nor her finished cans, but instead with a rendering of her club’s mechanical canner to emphasize the soldering, high temperatures, and chemistry that tomato club girls mastered. Girls’ tomato club reports, P.C. 234, Jane S. McKimmon Papers, North Carolina State Archives.

From the beginning, the women pioneering the tomato clubs wanted girls like Yoder to realize profits off their work, having deliberately chosen 1/10-acre because it yielded more than a single girl’s family could reasonably use. Most of the girls’ harvest was marketed and sold so that they would end the season with cash in hand. In order to be successful, girls had to research their markets, price their goods, brand their lines, and standardize their products. Then they had to become confident sales negotiators, such as one girl McKimmon described who insisted on opening a randomly chosen can in front of a reluctant merchant, who was impressed enough to order not only that season’s output, but the next two as well.Such business lessons would stay with girls, even after they grew out of the clubs.

Looking back on the work, McKimmon later argued that “the first step in the uplift was to get a few dollars into the girl’s purse so that she could buy a dress, a bit of finery, and a few school books.” Crucial to the movement from McKimmon’s point of view was that girls chose what to do with their earnings, which the New York Times noted in its coverage of the tomato clubs as well: “It is understood with the parents that the children shall have and spend in any way they may desire all the money earned from their ventures.” Putting money in the hands of girls generally disempowered by society and trusting them to make decisions about spending it obviously gave them a powerful sense of freedom, as Yoder’s report shows: “My brother told me when I sold them to put my money in the bank and get me a check book and I think I shall. Next year I shall have my plot broken in the winter and fixed better, and I will try harder to make more money from my plot.”9 Clearly, canning tomatoes gave girls their own stakes in economic decision-making.

Instruction in foundation or dress patterns for North Carolina home demonstration members, c. 1935, courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.009.025 Item 0000512, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries

Putting money in girls’ purses for schoolbooks, the last element in McKimmon’s list, was potentially the most life changing, and at least some of the girls themselves recognized the power of education. Yoder had her eye on school, even as she thought about her bank account, and concluded her report with her plans: “And sometime I shall want to go to college and I’ll try for the Scholarship.” Cromer’s first tomato club awarded as its grand prize a four-year scholarship to Winthrop College in South Carolina. Year-end reports from every state were filled with statistics of girls winning scholarships or devoting their profits and prize purses to tuition. Sadie Limer, in Warren County, North Carolina, explained her professional goals in her report: “As my ambition is to be a school teacher, (and knowing that to be a good one, one must be educated[)], I wanted to get a fairly good education, that is to say, go off to a good high school or college. I also knew it would cost considerable to do so, and I wanted to pay my own tuition, or the greater part, if possible.” Some girls financed their education inventively. Margaret Brown, for example, hatched a tomatoes-for-tuition scheme; according to McKimmon, Brown approached the president of Raleigh’s Peace Institute and successfully proposed paying in canned goods. In all, McKimmon’s report of 1915–1916 cited twenty-seven tomato club girls going to school on scholarship and an additional 110 girls paying their own way in school from tomato profits.10

Sallie Jones’s Mechanical Canner

The cover featured a looming gray machine. Carefully detailed model numbers, brand name, and coloring gave the equipment weight on the page. Sallie Jones of Alamance County in North Carolina’s piedmont—“Club No. 3, Member No. 7,” as she called herself—illustrated her tomato booklet neither with her crop nor her finished cans, but instead with a rendering of her club’s mechanical canner. With its sealed metal casing and impressive venting smokestack, the Standard Cannery she pictured emphasized the soldering, high temperatures, and chemistry mastered by tomato club girls. Unlike Yoder, who wrote more about her canning profit and its transformative power, Jones lingered on the technology of the tomato—and her role as the scientist or engineer in charge. She precisely detailed the process, from lining up tomatoes in scalding trays to dropping “the tomatoes in the boiling water” and allowing them to “remain for one minute after which we put them in cold water to make them firm.” She reported the exact time to leave them in the canner after sealing as twenty-two minutes and recommended turning the cans “up side down for twenty four hours to prevent them from bulging.” Jones even imparted lessons on affixing labels, suggested recipes (with precise measurements), and calculated her personal yield: “Considering the drought this summer, my 1/10 acre of tomatoes has done remarkably well; the yield being 780 the total number of pounds 2340. There were five dozen tomatoes used at home, and ten dozen and a half sent to market.”11

Most of the early tomato clubs concentrated on canning in tin or steel, sealing with solder, and finishing with equipment like what Jones pictured. For the early clubs, canning in glass presented challenges. While the Mason jar had been invented, it and similar glass jars were not yet common. One Mississippi club girl carefully scavenged glass inkbottles and Vaseline jars for her first exhibit, then spent her five-dollar prize on proper containers for the following year. In addition, widespread sanitary canning in glass required the easy availability of pressure cookers, which were not available in the first years of the canning clubs. Canning in metal was a good alternative for the clubs, not least because it responded to consumer expectations, or, as Franklin Reck, in a history of 4-H work, argued: “The powers-that-be had decided to teach canning in tin because girls were going to sell their surplus, and housewives were used to buying tins rather than glass jars.”12

Central to Cromer’s initial argument for the tomato clubs was the statistic that every year South Carolina sent eleven million dollars out of state to purchase canned goods. Once clubs formed, a local newspaper commented that “tables are no longer furnished with tomatoes ‘canned in Baltimore,’ but with the inscription, ‘Canned by the girls’ tomato club of Aiken, S.C.’” and predicted, “the lords of the tomato canning industry will have much ado.”13 It did not hurt sensational southern news stories that the canning capital was their Yankee neighbor. Well before California’s Cannery Row became the symbol of that state’s dominance of the nation’s canned goods industry, the first heart of commercial canning was an east coast city: Baltimore. The city’s canneries processed domestic fruits and vegetables, seafood (especially oysters) harvested along the Atlantic coast, and international products, such as Bahamian pineapples. Baltimore’s large factories seemed far removed from the individual farmer or consumer elsewhere in the United States.

In the decades after 1900, American consumers were purchasing increasing amounts of canned goods. In part, canned food succeeded because consumers viewed their products as hygienic and sanitary, two buzzwords of the early twentieth century. Canned goods also were a viable solution to feed the growing number of families living in cities, away from home gardens. In North and South Carolina, as tenancy and sharecropping increased, along with factory, mill, and logging towns, pressure rose to spend money or credit at landlord-controlled or company stores. Economic stresses forced many to forgo gardens and to plant fields in monoculture money crops such as cotton or tobacco. Food companies encouraged the practice of consuming canned goods—then, as now, more profit could be made on processed food than unprocessed.

Canned goods also were a viable solution to feed the growing number of families living in cities, away from home gardens.

The girls’ products encroached on industrial canning, and they knew it. As Julia F. Burwell, another North Carolina girl, said, “I thought that the tin cans bought from the store were canned in large factorys [sic] and that no one could can like that. But I have learned better now, how to can in tin and glass also.”14 This was not the safe domesticity of kitchen work; it held the possibility of expanded career horizons and self-confidence. To girls like Jones, the tomato stood for industry and technology. It combined modern equipment associated with urban industry with the desires and needs of fashionable consumers. In the spaces of the tomato clubs, girls controlled that technology.

Girls Together: Race and Cooperation

For the photograph, three girls posed outside, standing behind a table holding a pressure cooker and rows of glass jars filled with canned goods. It was the 1920s, so the portable kitchen appliance replaced Jones’s industrial-sized canner. These girls wore modern, fashionably short dresses with sailor collars and short sleeves. One girl sported white T-strap shoes that would clearly fit in at church. They lived in Craven County in eastern North Carolina and belonged to one of the “Negro Clubs.” By 1918 in North Carolina, at least 2,225 African American girls were officially enrolled in club work. The three as yet unidentified girls were present because some North Carolinians viewed tomatoes as instruments in early civil rights work.15

North Carolina’s tomato clubs found some innovative ways to bridge the gulf between African American and white residents in the South and at times forged interracial cooperation if not friendship. Seaman Knapp paved the way for his boys’ corn clubs when he traveled to Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute as early as 1906 to hire Tom Campbell as the first Negro Demonstration Agent. Campbell had already worked with African American farmers in a privately funded effort, but Knapp found a way for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the work. It was only the first link between white and African American workers. When Virginia’s Ella Agnew took on the canning work for white girls, she first enrolled in a technical course at the African American Hampton Institute. African American communities had already developed strategies for teaching canning and forming girls’ clubs, especially through traveling teacher programs. Knapp and his workers adopted many of their strategies; others specifically responded to the needs of African American rural communities and greatly benefited the African American women later hired for canning clubs.16

Three members of the Pleasant Hill 4-H Club in Craven County performing a demonstration on canning, c. 1925, courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.008.100 Item 0017558, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries.

Dazelle Lowe at North Carolina A&T, 1940, inspecting an exhibit of Home Demonstration work assembled to be sent to the Negro Exposition in Chicago, courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.009.025 Item 0000759, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries.

In North Carolina, it was not until 1919, under federal pressure from World War I food conservation mandates, that forty-one African American women were hired as emergency Home Demonstration Agents. Once black workers were on payroll, McKimmon fought to keep them on staff and integrate the demonstration work. She used her yearly reports to advocate, writing in 1920, “There is not a home agent in demonstration work who is not eager to see work for negro women and girls continued . . . the Home Demonstration Division feels no better expenditure of funds could be made than that for the payment of the negro assistants.” She won the battle and hired African American women as full-time agents for six North Carolina counties. One, Dazelle Lowe, went on to become state agent for the Negro Home Demonstration work, and through work like hers the Craven County girls got their own canning club.17

In a study of women and white supremacy in North Carolina, historian Glenda Gilmore described the workplace McKimmon and Lowe created as “strong enough for black and white women to choose to continue to drive together down rutted roads, chatting about their work and their hopes for the future.” McKimmon reported how white and black agents shared information, worked closely together, and taught each other lessons that they would then pass on to their constituencies. She discussed how they started with segregated training programs, but by 1933 had integrated the trainings so that “a mutual feeling of respect and appreciation was engendered when each had an opportunity to hear reports of the other’s good work.” Thus, even as social and legal Jim Crow separation reigned, tomato clubs created striking opportunities for integrated space in the segregated South.18

Yet, girls’ clubs remained segregated by race, as in the Craven County photograph. As Gilmore notes, working with African American women on social issues “does not mean that white women questioned or rejected the ideology of white supremacy.” Instead, both groups of women “were left with the more confusing business of sorting out their thoughts and developing a racial ideology that allowed room for continued racial interaction.” Because we do not have personal letters between Lowe and McKimmon, it is hard to say if, how, and in what ways their friendship developed. Yet, from hints in the historical record, including one letter from another African American worker, Lucy Wade, to McKimmon in which she lingered over her travel, a cold she had, and the work in front of her, the warmth of genuine friendship was certainly possible. In any case, at a time when activist work (especially government-sponsored work) did not have to feature any interracial contact—much less interracial cooperation—the tomato club work and its progeny of home demonstration programs brought African American and white women together to teach food preservation, value cooperative knowledge, and grow economic opportunities for women and girls like the three dressed up and posed with their canned goods. These girls remind us not only of their presence, but also their importance in the lineage of interracial cooperation.19

Cornelia Simpson (left), home demonstration agent for Craven County, North Carolina, with a farmwoman at Camp Kiro, 1928, courtesy of the University Archives Photograph Collection, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, UA023.009.010 Item 0000481, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries.

From Tomatoes to Today

As the decade passed and the tomato clubs evolved into more general canning clubs and home demonstration programs, war, the Great Depression, and increasing mechanization of agriculture all changed the politics of rural life in the southern United States. In contrast to the earliest club messages of empowerment and social change, more traditional visions of home, family, gender, and economics became ascendant.

As the reports testify, however, the early clubs pushed at the limits of possibility for rural women and girls in the South. Girls met each other—at national exhibits and competitions, wearing badges, trading songs, and comparing their checkbooks. For a moment, rows and rows of shiny cans of tomatoes promised a union of science, technology, and possibility. Organizers met from across the states, sometimes for the first time sitting down with women of different races and classes from their own, talking about shared challenges and individual perspectives. It may have only lasted for a few years, but leave it to a group of southern women and girls to slip the heady taste of freedom, modern life, and social change into seemingly innocuous, ever-present cans and jars of home-grown tomatoes resting on a shelf, waiting to be opened and savored.

Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt is John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the interplay of food, race, gender, sports, ecology, and culture in the South. While researching tomato clubs, she discovered she is the great-grandniece of a Quebec, North Carolina Canning Club member.

Header photo by Kate Medley.


1. Tomato Club Songs, Mississippi State University Agricultural Narrative and Statistical Reports from State Officers, Microfilm Rolls 1–2, 1909–1917, Special Collections, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi.

2. Few topics were beneath Knapp’s notice: his ideas of efficiency in rural life ranged from better seeds to crop rotation to window screens to egg warmers to fences. See Joseph Cannon Bailey, Seaman A. Knapp: Schoolmaster of American Agriculture (New York: Columbia University Press, 1945); Marie Samuella Cromer, “Miss Cromer’s Address,” Newspaper clipping, n.d., Scrapbook, Marie Samuella Cromer Papers, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina (hereafter Cromer Papers).

3. Clipping, Oklahoma Farmer, August 25, 1915, Conceit Book, 1915–1930, P.C. 234.23, Jane S. McKimmon Papers, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina (hereafter McKimmon Papers).

4. On the expansion of the demonstration work, see Franklin M. Reck, The 4-H Story: A History of 4-H Club Work (Ames: Iowa State College Press, 1951) and Mary Creswell, “The Home Demonstration Work,” in “New Possibilities in Education,” special issue, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 67 (September 1916): 244–49. See also Lynne A. Rieff, “‘Go Ahead and Do All You Can’: Southern Progressives and Alabama Home Demonstration Clubs, 1914–1940” in Hidden Histories of Women in the New South, ed. Virginia Bernhard et al. (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1994), 134–52; on African Americans and demonstration, see Debra Reid, Reaping a Greater Harvest: African Americans, the Extension Service, and Rural Reform in Jim Crow Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2007); on Powell, see Danny Moore, “‘To Make the Best Better’: The Establishment of Girls’ Tomato Clubs in Mississippi, 1911–1915,” Journal of Mississippi History 63, no. 2 (2001): 115–18; on McKimmon, see Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896–1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 196–99.

5. Green ‘N’ Growing, Cromer, “The Tomato Girls,” newspaper clipping (handwritten date, October 10, 1911), Scrapbook, Cromer Papers.

6. Charlotte Yoder, “Hickory, NC,” Tomato Club Booklets, 1912–1915, P.C. 234.8, McKimmon Papers.

7. “Miss Katie Gunzer [sic], Champion,” Newspaper clipping, n.d., Scrapbook, Cromer Papers; Jane S. McKimmon, “Report of Girls’ Canning Clubs, North Carolina, Nov. 1911–Dec. 1912,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers; Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Inflation Calculator,” , accessed September 1, 2008; McKimmon, “Annual Report 1913–1914,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers; McKimmon, “Annual Report, Dec. 1914–1915,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers; Creswell, 245; McKimmon, “Annual report, 1918–1919,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers; “A Timeline of 4-H and Home Demonstration in North Carolina: United States,” , accessed August 25, 2008.

8. McKimmon, When We’re Green We Grow (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1945), 30–31.

9. McKimmon quoted in Reck, 4-H Story, 86; “Uncle Sam Starts a Juvenile Class in Agriculture,” New York Times, August 4, 1912, SM13; Yoder, McKimmon Papers.

10. Yoder, McKimmon Papers; “Miss Katie Gunzer [sic], Champion,” Newspaper clipping, n.d., Scrapbook, Cromer Papers; Sadie Limer, “Warren Co., NC,” Tomato Club Booklets, 1912–1915, P.C. 234.9, McKimmon Papers; McKimmon, When We’re Green, 34; McKimmon, “Annual Report, 1915–1916,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers.

11. Sallie Jones, “Girls Canning Club,” Tomato Club Booklets, 1912–1915, P.C. 234.9, McKimmon Papers.

12. Moore, “‘To Make the Best Better,’” 111; Reck, 4-H Story, 81.

13. Cromer, “Miss Cromer’s Address,” n.d., and fragment, April 9, 1911, newspaper clippings, Scrapbook, Cromer Papers.

14. Julia F. Burwell, “Tomatoes,” Tomato Club Booklets, 1912–1915, P.C. 234.10, McKimmon Papers.

15. McKimmon, “Annual report, 1918–1919,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers; the photograph of the three Craven County girls, as well as others in this essay, is available on the Green ’N’ Growing website via keyword search, .

16. Reck, 4-H Story, 134, 80.

17. McKimmon, When We’re Green, 137; McKimmon, “Annual Report, 1920–1921,” P.C. 234.1, McKimmon Papers.

18. Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow, 196–99; McKimmon, When We’re Green, 145.

19. Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow, 199; Lucy Wade, “My Dear Mrs. McKimmon,” January 29, 1923, Conceit Book, P.C. 234.23, McKimmon Papers.