Monday, January 28, 2013

Miss Agnes Call competes in a canning contest in Chicago

From the December 13, 1922 Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican newspaper:

Agnes (Call) Purington (5th generation on Woodslawn Farm - see the History page) was nineteen years old in 1922.  It must have been an exciting adventure for her because in the early 1990's's she would occasionally mention this trip while reminiscing about her youth.

According to her son Herbert Purington, the friend mentioned in the brief news article was Mildred E. (Kingsbury) Totman.

Agnes (left, peeling an apple) and Mildred working on their canning skills.
Location and exact date of the photo is not known.
Photo scanned from an album that belonged to Agnes.

They qualified for the Chicago contest by first winning local and regional contests, and then by being one of the top two teams at the sectional competition in September at the Eastern States Exposition (now known as the Big E) in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was estimated* that 55,000 "rural girls" competed nationally for the opportunity to win the prize in Chicago.

The winning prize in Chicago, "a trip to France", was not a carefree tourist's vacation.
Two teams winning the national contests would tour France under sponsorship of the American Committee for Devastated Europe, one of a series of philanthropic efforts to help Europe recover from the ruin of the war. During June and July, winning teams from Iowa and Colorado and their state leaders toured France giving demonstrations and learning about French cuisine.

And the winners were . . .  First Place:  Beulah Rodgers and Katherine Dolidaugh of Eddyville, Iowa, and Second Place:  Bertha Roger and Elaine Hendricks, Kit Carson County, Colorado.
"Although ranging in age from 14 to 17 years, the girls displayed a range of knowledge worthy of the most famous chefs."

 The Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer, Volume 69, Dec. 16, 1922, page 454

* Detailed information about the competition and prize trip may be read on page 52 of the August 1922 issue of FARM MECHANICS. The article is titled "Champion Girl Canning Teams Go To Europe".