Friday, June 17, 2011

Durham County Home Demonstration Clubs, 1913-1929

Sewing lesson at a Durham County Home Demonstration Club meeting in 1929. (Photo North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Durham County Center)

In Durham County Family and Consumer Sciences Agents and Durham County Extension Homemakers helped the then rural county progress into the economically vibrant urban county Durham is today.

The Extension Homemakers of the County’s Home Demonstration Clubs promoted and promulgated the mission of Family and Consumer Sciences Agents. The first Home Demonstration Club in Durham County can be traced back to the Women’s Betterment Society founded in 1913. Home demonstration work began in the county in 1915 after the first home agent, Mrs. Beulah Eubanks, was hired. Eventually the Women’s Betterment Society became a platform for Extension and home demonstration work and grew into the Oak Grove Home Demonstration Club. During the first five years, home extension work was done in communities around the county.

Extension Homemakers heeded the call of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help supply food for the troops in Europe during War World I. Durham Homemakers canned 94,672 containers of fruits and vegetables that were ultimately sent to our servicemen abroad.

The first new club to be organized, after the Women’s Betterment Society converted to a Home Demonstration Club, was the Bahama Home Demonstration Club founded in 1919, and a year later the Nelson Home Demonstration Club was organized.

In 1920 Miss Anna Rowe came to Durham County to assume the role as Home Demonstration Agent, and she was charged with forming permanent community home demonstration clubs. During Miss Rowe’s tenure in Durham, 20 clubs with a total of 745 women were organized. Among the most significant accomplishments of these 20 community clubs was the founding of the Durham County Home Demonstration Curb Market. These early twenty demonstration clubs remained operational and met regularly through the remainder of the decade and through two more home demonstration agents who followed Anna Rowe between 1924 and 1927.

In 1927 Rose Ellwood Bryan was appointed the Home Demonstration Agent for Durham County, and under her leadership, the number of home demonstration clubs grew to twenty-six. The names of the clubs corresponded with their communities: Alston Avenue; Airport; Bahama; Belmont; Bethesda; Bragtown; Chandler; East Durham; Fairview; Glenn; Hillandale; Holt; Lake Michie; Lowes Grove; Nelson; New Hope; Oak Grove; Pinehill; Pineland; Riverview; Rose of Sharon; Roberson Grove; Rougemont; Sherron Avenue; Umbra; and White Cross.

For the full story of Home Demonstration clubs and agents in Durham County, go to

No comments:

Post a Comment