The Farmer's Wife

The Farmer's Wife, a reformist newspaper dedicated to giving rural women activists a voice in their quest for political and governmental reform, became the official paper of the National Woman's Alliance after its organization in 1891. The brainchild of Populists I. W. and Emma Pack, The Farmer's Wife, with its motto, “Equal Rights to All, Special Privileges to None,” came into being when the Packs merged their individual publishing efforts in 1890 at Topeka, Kansas. Intended both to promote Farmers’ Alliance causes and improve the quality of life for rural women, the editors of The Farmer's Wife initially provided a delicate balance between the New Womanhood ideas promoted by the women's movement of the mid to late nineteenth century and the traditional values and ideals held by most rural Kansas women. To accomplish this, the paper included sections dedicated to fashion, household items, agriculture, and children, in addition to those dealing with women's responsibilities and duties, especially the problems they faced in accomplishing them, their work in the National Woman's Alliance and other organizations, and the advancement of women and women's rights. The Farmer's Wife encouraged its readership to become educated on the political and business issues directly affecting them and provided articles on women's successes in nontraditional pursuits, such as business ownership and medicine.

Brenda Jackson-Abernathy

See also: Gilded Age ; Kansas, Populism in ; Lease, Mary (1850–1933) ; National Woman's Alliance ; Pack, Emma (1850–1910) ; The Press and Populism ; Progressivism


Endres, Kathleen L., and Therese L. Lueck. Women's Periodicals in the United States: Social and Political Issues. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996.