The Queen of American Agriculture

The Queen of American Agriculture

A Biography of Virginia Claypool Meredith

Book - 2008
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Atlas Books
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. Virginia Claypool Meredith was a woman well ahead of her times and left a legacy for the women of Indiana and the nation.

Book News
Virginia Claypool Meredith is little known outside of Indiana, most particularly Purdue University, where there is a building named for her. This biography seeks to change that. Two Purdue Extension Service professors, Whitford and Martin, and local historian Mattheis, have searched public and private archives to create a rounded portrait of Meredith. Left as a widow in 1882 with a sizable farm to run, she did so with great success, becoming known for her animal breeding skills. College educated, she also had the skills to write and speak about her work. Coming of age at the height of the Suffrage movement, she also was a strong advocate for equal education for women, especially in rural areas. Her obvious ability was an important factor in the acceptance she received by her peers. The first female trustee at Purdue, she was honored throughout her life for her accomplishments and her advocacy of opportunities for farm women. This eminently readable biography, illustrated with photographs and documents, is a welcome reminder that women of the nineteenth century were able to excel in many fields. Appendices include several of Meredith's articles and contemporary praise for her. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: West Lafayette, Ind. : Purdue University Press, c2008
ISBN: 9781557535122
Branch Call Number: Biography M541w
Characteristics: xii, 434 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Martin, Andrew G.
Mattheis, Phyllis


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