Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017


Wisconsin Historical Society


In 1894, forty-two-year-old Milwaukee socialite Adda F. Howie seemed a very unlikely candidate to become one of the most famous women in America. And yet by 1925, Howie, the first woman to serve on the Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture, had long been “recognized universally as the most successful woman farmer in America.”1 Howie’s rise to fame came at a time when the widely accepted ideas about gender were divided into the “man’s world” of business, power, and money, and the “woman’s world” devoted to family and home. Yet Howie, rather than being vilified for succeeding in the male sphere, was publicly praised for her skill in bringing traditional female values into the barns and pastures of Wisconsin. Instead of facing ridicule for her unconventional, ostentatiously feminine innovations, she was heaped with praise and her methods studied and adopted on farms across the United States and beyond.


Copyright © 2017 Wisconsin Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.



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