From Boston to Vermont doesn't seem like such a big leap, but in 1914, rural Vermont was a different world from its city counterpart.

In November of 1914, Germany roared across Europe, and by winter armies were entrenched in positions along a 500 mile front. 

While Europe convulsed, life on a Vermont farm was simple.  These are the years which will help to establish the mythology of the Vermont yeoman farmer, bringing in the harvest behind his patient horses, working with his neighbors, standing at town meeting.  

In 1923 Warren G. Harding will die in office.  His Vice-President, Calvin Coolidge will be visiting his father in Plymouth, Vermont, a town ill equipped for emergencies: it has no phone.  Word that Harding was gone came from two journalists, who rode in the middle of the night from Ludlow, Vermont, to notify Coolidge, and of course, scoop the story.  Coolidge will swear the oath of office, administered by his father, on a family bible... and go back to bed.

Despite his family's farming background, Coolidge will veto the farm relief act in 1927, and again in 1928, claiming government aught not be involved in private enterprise.  His legendary frugality allowed the country to sink disastrously into depression.  


Mother (1900)


and Daughter (1930)

By 1930, Katherine's life was so completely different from her mother's as to defy imagination.  She could vote, for one thing.  World War I had opened up unprecedented employment opportunities for women, WWII would expand them beyond even Katherine's wildest dreams.  In 1840, Nellie Bly made history circling the globe in 72 days, which was a marvel of traveling speed at the time but what made the event memorable (and scandalous)  was that Nellie was a woman and a reporter.  By 1930, women were smashing down barriers.  Not quite quickly enough, however.  Like her mother before her, Katherine trained to be a teacher.  Unlike her mother, Katherine had no aptitude for it whatsoever.

Katherine married after college, and what with World War II, educating her daughter, following her husband's career, and then a divorce, it would be 1948 before Katherine returned to the farm. 

Photography, introduced during the Victorian period, became commonplace after the wars, but remained a relatively expensive hobby, and rarely recorded everyday life on the farm.  Thus, this picture of my grandmother in the  kitchen, taken around 1940, is unusual.  Note the package of Oxydol. Just 40 years before all the household cleaning products would have been made at home.  Five more decades will pass before we consider manufacturing soap on the farm again... and instead of being for home use, the soap will be for the specialty cosmetics market.


A 1940's kitchen

In 1950, Katherine and her new husband Charles Morrison, returned to take over the farm.  The farmhouse, though structurally sound, had barely been modernized.  The barn leaned.  The hayfields were overgrown.  The Morrisons immediately began making profound and sweeping changes that would alter not only the appearance of the farm, but change its 150 acres forever.