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Keywords

Sociology

Abstract

The recycling of cotton feed sacks into apparel and household items was a common practice across rural America during the first half of the twentieth century. This creative recycling of a utilitarian fabric has, until recently, been omitted from histories of American fashion because the practice centered on fabric use rather than new garment styles, and because the farm wife of rural America was not considered to be a source of fashion inspiration. As an element of material culture, the clothing and clothing practices of rural populations reflect the life and times of the era to the same extent as that of the general population. However, it is the activities of these farm wives, clothing their families in feed sacks, that offer a view of life that was unique to rural communities during this time period. This project collected oral histories of individuals who shared memories of using feed sacks during the 1930s through the 1950s. The memories not only confirmed the wide spread use of feed sacks for clothing and house hold goods, but provided a glimpse of everyday life in rural America during this time period.

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