Rural Texas Women at Work, 1930–1960

Fourteen-year-old Doris Mears planting corn, by unknown photographer, April 1942.

Industrious and enterprising, rural Texas women performed the common tasks of housewives everywhere—cooking, housekeeping, and doing laundry. In addition, they raised large gardens, tended flocks of poultry, canned and preserved foods for their families, made and repaired furnishings, picked cotton, drove tractors, and took over the men’s work during World War II.


Drawn from files of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service archives at Texas A&M University, Rural Texas Women at Work, 1930–1960 uses photographs and explanatory texts to convey a sense of the lives of rural Texas women, helpful programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service, and the changes that swept across rural Texas during the Great Depression and World War II. Panel topics include:

  • Preparing food
  • Cleaning house
  • Painting a house
  • Making a mattress
  • Caning a chair
  • Trimming shrubs
  • Ranching
  • Making and mending clothes
  • Planting gardens
  • Feeding chickens
  • Driving a tractor
  • Plowing with a mule
  • Picking cotton
  • New electrical appliances

Rural Texas Women at Work is sponsored by Texas A&M University, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, and the Arts Council of Brazos Valley and is produced by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Exhibition Format

Content5 double-sided panels (24” x 36”)
6 support legs (68” tall)
Space Requirements80 square feet of floor space (8’ x 10’)
Shipping Weight and DimensionsTravels in 2 plastic cases:
  • 40” x 34” x 9” - 83 lbs.
  • 74” x 8” x 7” - 30 lbs.
Rental Fee*$350*
Rental Period4 weeks

*Rental fees are based primarily on the cost of shipping. Prices may vary based on current fuel surcharges or venue location within the state of Texas. Out-of-state rentals are priced on an individual basis. Please call for a rental fee quote specific to your venue.

Publicity Materials

Press release

Rural Texas Women at Work press release

Publicity image

A publicity image is available for promoting this exhibition at your venue. Please contact the exhibitions coordinator to request an electronic file of this image. Please allow 2-3 business days for the exhibitions coordinator to process your request.

Humanities Texas logos

Venues may request a CD with the Humanities Texas logo in a number of electronic file formats for use when developing print and online promotional materials. Logo files are also available for download on the logo page.

Book Now or Receive a Quote

To book an exhibition or receive a quote, please complete the online rental form.

Questions and Rental Information

Call 512.440.1991 or email

2020-2021 Bookings

Morton Museum
Gainesville, TX

The Falls on the Colorado Museum
Marble Falls, TX

Chappell Hill Historical Society Museum
Chappell Hill, TX

Ozuna Library, Palo Alto College
San Antonio, TX

Armstrong County Museum
Claude, TX

On Display