Christmas Party, 1947


North Carolina State Universities Libraries

North Carolina State Universities Libraries

What did you wear to your work related holiday party? I see a sharp generational divide among these Home Demonstration workers in North Carolina. The older set wears suits and dresses, two even in hats, while younger women are much more casually dressed in separates. Generational color coding is at work as well, with the older women turning more often to dark colors.

At the center back in the feathered black hat is Dr. Jane McKimmon, who served as head of the state program from 1911 until 1945. The wonderful website at North Carolina State University, which I have used several times, has lots of information about her. Standing on her right, wearing a dark dress, stands her successor, Ruth Current. Since they are the only ones with hats, I wonder if they put them on to show who was in charge.

Perhaps the elders went home wondering what would become of the organization when the casual new generation took over. And maybe those laughing young women in the front were whispering, “Can you believe Dr. McKimmon still has on that hat?”


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3 Responses to Christmas Party, 1947

  1. My (figurative) hat is off to all these women, who must have made a real difference in their communities. We have forgotten many of the ways in which lives can be improved by simple means, like teaching safe canning methods, better nutrition, and sewing techniques. I suspect that women attending these home demonstrations exchanged a lot of information with each other, as well as learning from the teachers. In England, The Women’s Institute (sometimes referred to as “Jam and ‘Jerusalem’ [the hymn, not the city]) is still growing strong.

  2. Sylvia R says:

    The crochet border on the tablecloth required a lot of time and effort to crochet… I wonder who made it? Is it Dr. McKimmon’s work, or a heirloom from someone else?
    We will never know, I suppose.

  3. JenO says:

    I’m willing to bet that the gray toned outfits are probably red, but other than that, what a somber group this is–not a holiday print, scarf or brooch in view. These ladies must not have started the expensive project of upgrading their wartime wardrobes yet (Dior who?).

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