#Onthisday in 1938, the Saratogian reported:
Home Bureau Meets At Wagmans Ridge
The Wagman’s Ridge Home Bureau held its January meeting today at the home of Mrs. Stewart Herrington. The meeting was postponed from Jan 7 on account of icy roads. Mrs. Everett Wooley gave the final lesson on Community meals and coffee making.
Ann Hulka is attending…
Home Bureaus were established across New York State in the early twentieth century in order to provide new information on household economics and management.
“The Home Bureau had programs of education in nutrition, home sewing, home decorating, and child care“, according to Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession edited by Sarah Stag and Virginia Vincent 1997 Cornell University Press. “The dues they paid purchased a curriculum formulated at Cornell. Women who joined had very little input in the curriculum development or in the formation of goals for the organization. Home Bureau almost always served the need: of middle-class farm women for these were the women with leisure time, means of transportation, and money necessary to participate actively.”
Home Bureau was similar to development of Farm Bureau. In 1955, a congressional order separated the farm bureau / home bureau and extension; each organization then specialized: the farm bureau actively lobbies on issues that directly impacted its members; cooperative extension, as a publicly funded organization, continued in its educational role.
Deputy Town Historian, Farmer’s wife and retired Saratoga Cooperative Extension family and consumer schience leader, Patricia Peck remembers, “After 1956 we had units, so the Wagmans Ridge Home Bureau referred to in the news-clipping became the Wagman’s Ridge Home Demonstration Unit. My mother-in-law was a founding member of the Wagmans Ridge Home Bureau. The model was that individual homemakers from various home bureau units across the county would sign up to take a training offered at the county level by the ‘county agent’ and then come back and teach it to the members of their respective units. So Mrs. Everett Woolley [mother-in-law of Yvonne Woolley] went to Saratoga Springs and took the training for ‘Community Meals and Coffee Making’ and then came back to the Wagman’s Ridge Home Bureau and taught the lesson to those present. This system was great for developing leadership skills and for enhancing social opportunities. When I first joined the Wagmans Ridge Home Demonstration unit in the fall of 1964 I signed up to take the training on making a man’s wool plaid shirt. I went to the Extension office at 87 Church St, Saratoga Springs, and took the series of lessons from Helen Stewart, along with delegates from other home demonstration units. Then I taught it to those members of our unit who wanted to learn to make a man’s plaid shirt. Many women in the ‘neighborhood’ belonged to the Wagmans Ridge group – Mrs. Mary Hanehan, Norma Hall, Pat Dooley, Shirley Mahay, Mildred Thomas, Linda Griffen, Joyce Ruhle, Lena Robinson, Mary Ruhle, Marilyn Peck, Edna Caldwell, Trudy Pravda, and Yvonne Martin are some that I remember. Later Gay Gamage and Marion Craine joined. It was a great way for me to meet many local women.”