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Manuscripts by Subject - Women's History - #10866

Title: Sweet Sixteen Homemakers Club of Stutsman County

Dates: 1951-2001

Collection Number: 10866

Quantity: 1.5 feet

Abstract: Consists of constitution and bylaws, minutes, financial records, membership lists and handbook, annual programs, special programs, photographs, scrapbooks, and ephemera. (1.5ft)

Property Rights:
The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Provenance: The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Sweet Sixteen Homemakers Club Records from Joan Nayes in December 2002.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.


Historical Sketch
By Janet Beltran

Homemakers’ Clubs were the creation of the Extension Division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Their purpose was to provide homemakers, especially those in rural areas, with an organization that would educate them in a variety of homemaking topics as well as learning to lead meetings and being a club officer.  Homemaking topics included finances, child rearing, food, social awareness, home decoration, health, shopping, and handcrafts and sewing.  The club was guided by the local extension agent and publications published by the Extension Division.

The North Dakota Homemakers’ Creed by Mrs. F.F. Brudevold expresses the beliefs of its members:
                                I believe my home is sacred; a place where love, faith, hope and devotion have their beginning; where each has his rights respected by others; where joys and blessings, sorrows and disappointments are shared in common; where God is revered and honored, fellowmen respected and love is law.

                                I believe it is my duty to live up to the best that is in me to attain this, to fear things unworthy, to conquer difficulties by daring to attempt them, to be a companion as well as counselor to my family, and to teach and live love of home, country, fellowmen and God.

One of many homemakers’ clubs in Stutsman County was The Sweet Sixteen Homemakers’ Club of Jamestown, North Dakota.  It was organized 15 February 1951, with a standard roster of sixteen members.  When a member resigned, a new member took her place.  During the first year several members resigned for a variety of reasons, for example, leaving Jamestown, joining another homemakers’ club, being too busy, or no longer interested.

For almost fifty years the Sweet Sixteen Club met on the fourth Thursday of each month.  Often they skipped a meeting during one of the summer months, and in the 1990s began to have fewer meetings.  Each year there was an international dinner in September, a Christmas party in December, and a summer picnic that included the members’ families.  The June meeting was set aside for the annual business meeting.  The next year’s agenda was planned at the July meeting.

The Extension Club issued blank standard yearly program booklets to each member to note information about each meeting’s agenda: roll call, topic [of the meeting], leader [of the topic discussion or presentation], recreation, hostess, and meeting place.  Roll call served two purposes: to take attendance and to have each member participate by offering something as specified for that meeting.  During the 1952-3 year, roll call topics included recipes for hot breads and rolls, bringing a can of food for the Crippled Children’s School, household hints, ideas for centerpieces, wear and tell about your best color, tell about your favorite hobby, and many food subjects.  Program topics, in addition to food, included home management, gardening, clothing, crafts, and home and commercial dying.  During the 1994-5 year, roll call topics included favorite family tradition, where I would like to travel, tell us about your wedding, and summer memories.  Program topics included “Who is responsible for our youth,?” every member book review, “Serendipity,” and “Bridges.”  Throughout the years, other topics, or projects, included making a kitchen more efficient.  Various methods were discussed, for example, rearranging cupboards and putting blocks under kitchen table legs to raise the homemaker’s working surface to a more comfortable height.

The Extension Club also issued an annual Secretary’s Record Book in which the secretary wrote minutes for each meeting.  Inside the front and back covers were instructions for writing minutes and preparing the club’s monthly report to the county office.  The Homemakers’ Creed was on the back cover of both the record book and the calendar.

The Sweet Sixteen Club was involved in many community events such as the 75th anniversary of Jamestown, collecting money and/or items for local charities, the Prairie Rose Garden Club, and cooperated with other homemakers’ clubs.

A major event each year was the international dinner.  Members chose a different country each year, decided on a menu, and prepared the food.    Some of the countries represented were Norway, Austria, Mexico, Italy, Canada, and Polynesia.  Within the United States, there was Pennsylvania Dutch, Hawaiian, and New England food.

The roster of members changed over the years as members joined and left.  However, the purpose of the club and the basic structure remained the same.  The club closed its books in September 2001.

Box / Folder Inventory

Bound Volume:
Scrapbook                         1963-2001 

Box 1:
1 Minutes                          1957-2000 
2 Constitution& Bylaws  1992         
3 Programs                      1987-1998 
4 Member Handbook                                                             
5 Programs                     1980-1999 
6 Pamphlets                                                  
7 Dinners                         1965-1982 
8 Yearly Programs         1951-1961 
9 Yearbooks                    1962-1975 
10 Materials for 40th Anniversary of Sweet Sixteen FCE            1991    
11 Menus for International Dinners                       1963-1993 
12 Photographs              1953-        
13 Cash or Day Book     1962-1994 
14 Scrapbook, Sweet Sixteen  1951-1971 

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