Virginia Claypool Meredith's role in directly managing the affairs of a large and prosperous farm in east-central Indiana opened doors that were often closed to women in late nineteenth century America. Her status allowed her to campaign for the education of women, in general, and rural women, in particular. While striving to change society's expectations for women, she also gave voice to the important role of women in the home. A lifetime of dedication made Virginia Meredith "the most remarkable woman in Indiana" and the "Queen of American Agriculture." Meredith was also an integral part of the history of Purdue University. She was the first woman appointed to serve on the university's board of trustees, had a residence hall named in her honor, and worked with her adopted daughter, Mary L. Matthews, in creating the School of Home Economics, the predecessor of today's College of Consumer and Family Sciences.
Farm and Family
1. A Hoosier Family’s Rise to Prominence
2. An Independent Woman Emerges
3. The Woman Farmer from Cambridge City
4. A Voice for Rural People
Community and Service
5. Empowering Women Through Club Work
6. The Lady Manager from Indiana at the Chicago World’s Fair
Educator and Advocate
7. Advancing the Science of Home Life
8. Purdue University’s First Woman Trustee
9. A Landmark for Veterans and a Home for Women
10. Farewell to the Grand Lady of Agriculture
Appendix 1: Complete Text of “Farm Life: Its Privileges and Possibilities”
Appendix 2: Complete Text of “Why Short-horns Are the Best Cattle for Indiana Farms”
Appendix 3: Complete Text of “The Relation of Women to the Columbian Exposition”
Appendix 4: Complete Text of “The Need of Special Training for Agricultural Pursuits”
Appendix 5: Complete Text of “Roads of Remembrance”
Appendix 6: Obituary of Virginia C. Meredith, Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier
Appendix 7: Complete Text of “Mrs. Virginia Meredith,” Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier
Frederick Whitford works for the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service in the College of Agriculture. He has authored more than 350 research, extension, and regulatory publications, and has delivered 6,000 presentations to a wide array of audiences. Whitford has written six previous books on the history of Indiana agriculture, including Memories of Life on the Farm: Through the Lens of Pioneer Photographer J. C. Allen.
Andrew Martin is a training specialist with the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, where he manages Indiana's commercial pesticide applicator training program.
Phyllis Mattheis is a local historian from Wayne County, Indiana.