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Full text of "Alabama College Bulletin: Shelby County In Wartime"

Shelby 
County 
In 
Wartime 



1940-1944 



BULLETIN 

ALABAMA COLLEGE, The State College for Women 

MONTEVALLO 



Shelby County In Wartime 



1940 - 1944 



By the Faculty of 

The School of Home Economics 

Alabama College 




Bulletin Published Quarterly by 

ALABAMA COLLEGE 

Montevallo, Alabama 

Vol. XXXVIII, No. 1 . July, 1945 Total No. 155 

Entered as second-class matter at the post office, 
Montevallo, Alabama 



I 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Foreword 

Acknowledgments 

PART I — Winning the War on the Home Front by Laura B. 
Hadley 

Chapter 1. The People of Shelby County Work to Win 

the War 

Chapter 2. Alabama College in the War Effort 

PART II — Studies of Shelby County Homes in Wartime 

Introduction 

Chapter 1. A Study of Home Improvement by Olivia 
Smenner 

Chapter 2. A Study of House Furnishings by Nellie Mae 
Touchstone 

Chapter 3. A Study of Small Kitchen Equipment by Lois 
A. Acker ley 



FOREWORD 

The School of Home Economics of Alabama College has pre- 
pared this bulletin to show some of the ways in which families of 
Shelby County are participating in and have been affected by the 
war. An attempt has been made in Part I to give a kind of over- 
view of the total participation of Shelby County in the war. It is in 
this setting that Shelby County families live and work. In order to 
understand the forces which influence their activities, to know some- 
thing of the total situation in which their planning and building and 
living are done, one needs to know what is going on in the commun- 
ity in which they live. Chapter 2, which is a report of the participa- 
tion of Alabama College in the war effort, is included because Ala- 
bama College is an important part of Shelby County and in many 
ways takes part in and influences what goes on in the county. Be- 
cause the work had to be done within the limits of modest resources, 
important facts have no doubt been omitted. 

Early in the fall of 1943, the faculty of the School of Home Ec- 
onomics of the College met to agree upon a general plan and to set 
up a tentative outline for the bulletin. The studies here reported 
were undertaken by different members of the faculty, each o^ whom 
had some special interest she wished to pursue. No effort has been 
made to study all the problems which might be considered, or to 
make the study comprehensive. Each of the contributors selected 
her own subject, carried out her own research, and presented her 
materials in her own way. 

Part I, "Winning the War on the Home Front," written by Miss 
Laura B. Hadley, Associate Professor of Home Economics, includes 
Chapter 1, "The People of Shelby County Work to Win the War," 
and Chapter 2, "Alabama College in the War Effort." Part II in- 
cludes Chapter 1, "A Study of Home Improvement," by Miss Olivia 
Smenner, Assistant Professor of Home Economics; Chapter 2, "A 
Study of House Furnishings," by Miss, Nellie Mae Touchstone, As- 
sistant Professor of Home Economics; and Chapter 3, "A Study of 
Small Kitchen Equipment," by Dr. Lois A. Ackeriey, Director of 
the School of Home Economics. 

Such a study as this is useful as a basis for courses of study in 
Home Economics and for other subjects in schools, for family plan- 
ning, or for the historical interest that such a record of the exper- 
iences of a community in time of war may have for the future. 

This bulletin has been prepared and will be distributed in the 
belief that it constitutes a service to education according to the larg- 
er and better concept of what education really is. 

Arthur Fort Harman, President 



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

The authors are indebted to and wish to express their thanks to many per- 
sons for assistance in the collection of data for these studies. 

Dr. T. H. Napier supplied the information on War Bond Sales. Mrs. Mel- 
ville Harlin, Executive Secretary, and Mr. Richard McGraw, chairman of 
the Shelby County Chapter, American Red Cross; Mr. Yeager Horn, Chief 
Clerk, Shelby County War Price and Ration Board; Mrs. E. R. Young and 
Mrs. Bessie R. Elliott, Clerks of the two selective service boards of the 
county^ Mr. A. A. Lauderdale, County Agriculture Agent, gave information 
concerning the work of their respective agencies. Mr. John Hardy, owner of 
Newala Lime Mill, Mr. Henry Johnson of the Buck Creek Cotton Mills, Inc., 
and Mr. G. L. Chamberlin, former manager of the Boothton Coal Mining 
Company, were helpful in giving information concerning products of the 
county's industry going into the war effort. Mr. P. B. Shaw gave informa- 
tion about the participation of the public schools. Dr. E. F. Sloan, County 
Health Officer, and Dr. C. T. Acker of Montevallo, Reverend W. M. Fuller, 
pastor of the Baptist Church, Montevallo, and Mrs. Florence Lyman, sec- 
retary to the President of Alabama College, supplied information about pro- 
fessional persons in the armed services and other w T ar-related work. Mr. L. C. 
Walker, Judge of the Probate Court, supplied the figures en juvenile delin- 
quency in Shelby County. 

Miss Marion Cotney, Shelby County Home Demonstration Agent, was 
generous with her time in securing data in regard to the homes in the county. 
Miss Mary Elizabeth Davis, Farm Security Supervisor, collected data from 
her clients concerning small kitchen equipment, home furnishing items, and 
improvements in housing. 

Mrs. R. E. Bowden, Jr., gave of her time in helping to get data on housing. 
To Mrs. J. P. Kelly, Mrs. Paul Rogan of Montevallo, and Miss Myrtle Old, 
Mrs. W. B. White, and Mrs. F. E. Williams of Columbiana thanks are due 
for help in locating persons in different parts of the county who were will- 
ing to answer the questionnaires. 

Thanks also are due to Mr. F. H. Frost for assistance in verifying figures 
on cost of improvements and to Dr. George A. Douglas, who assisted in 
making the occupational classifications of families included in the study on 
housing. 

To colleagues on the faculty grateful acknowledgement is made for re- 
ports on the special work of the various departments, student club projects, 
and the activities of faculty members reported in Chapter 2, "Alabama College 
in the War Effort." 

The authors desire to express their thanks especially to Dr. A. F. Harman, 
President of Alabama College, and Dr. T. H. Napier, Dean of the College, 
for suggestions and encouragement in the preparation of this bulletin. 

LOIS A. ACKERLEY 
LAURA B. HADLEY 
OLIVIA SMENNER 
NELLIE MAE TOUCHSTONE 



PART I 



Winning The War On The 
Home Front 



By Laura B. Hadley 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/alabamacollegebun155alab 



CHAPTER 1 

THE PEOPLE OF SHELBY COUNTY WORK 
TO WIN THE WAR 

A few miles east of Montevallo on the Calera highway a small 
stone marker, almost hidden by the trees on a shady hillside, indi- 
cates the geographic center of Alabama. This spot is very nearly the 
center of Shelby County from east to west and marks off roughly 
a line between the agricultural and the mineral-producing areas of 
the county. To the north are lumber and lime and the textile mills 
at Siluria. Some example of almost every kind of life within the 
State may be found in this county that is literally "in the heart of 
Alabama." People live in modest wealth and in great poverty. They 
operate large farms and they are tenants on tiny patches of soil. 
They mine coal and limestone, work in lumber camps, factories, 
and stores. They operate almost every kind of small business. They 
teach in the schools and they make homes for their families. In no 
small sense the experiences of Shelby County are typical of those 
of the State, perhaps of the nation. 

Manpower, Raw Materials, and Products from the Farms 
Contribute to the War Effort 

The population of Shelby County according to the census of 1940 
was 28,962. However, when the Bureau of the Census released its 
estimates of Alabama's population, November 1, 1943, this county 
had only 26,765 persons — a loss of 7.6 per cent. In addition to the 
actual population loss due to people moving out of the county, many 
workers have been lost to the armed forces. Still others have found 
work in nearby wartime projects. While the county itself has no 
new war plants it is just next door to some of the largest industrial 
areas in Alabama. The citizens of Shelby County, responding to the 
call for workers, have taken jobs in the munitions plant at Childers- 
burg, in the steel mills, manufacturing plants, and in the airplane 
modification center at Birmingham. Since these industries are within 
driving distance of Shelby County, men and women of the county 
have made the long drives to and from their work each day in order 
to carry on in these essential war jobs. 

Industry Contributes 

In spite of the loss of workers to other parts of the State and to 
the rest of the country, Shelby County industry — coal mining, manu- 
facturing of agricultural and construction lime, lumbering and saw 
milling, ginning, textile, bag and ice manufacturing — has been able 



10 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

to do its part for the war effort. The Buck Creek Cotton Mills, Inc., 
at Siluria have operated under government orders requiring that a 
minimum of ten per cent of their production shall go for lend lease 
and other export trade. Cotton cloth for Russian relief and "gun 
patches" used for cleaning gun barrels are among the products of 
these mills going directly to war uses. 

Shelby County is the largest lime-producing area in the State. As 
much as 95 per cent of the output of tha 5 lime mills has gone into 
the war effort. The biggest users are aluminum, steel, and paper 
manufacturers, and chemical warfare. There are 200 different uses 
for lime, including water purification, most of which are important 
in the war economy. The demand for agricultural lime has been 
greatly increased by the wartime food program. 

By far the greatest percentage of the output of the three large 
coal mining companies of Shelby County goes directly or indirectly 
into the war effort. In addition to army camps, the , essential indus-* 
tries using Shelby County coal include coke plants for the steel 
mills, powder plants, cotton mills, the generating plants for electric 
power companies and steamship companies. 

Agricultm e Contributes 

Although the county does not produce a surplus of agricultural 
products, by increasing the food supply to meet her own needs she 
has reduced the necessity to draw on the food resources of other 
areas. Farmers have somehow managed in spite of labor shortages 
and difficulties in securing new machinery to increase production 
along many lines. They have continued in work already begun to 
build up the soil,, to stop erosion, to harvest the lumber in an econ- 
omic manner and plant trees for future use, and to increase their 
livestock production. The dairymen have managed to keep a reason- 
ably adequate milk supply and the north end of the county supplies 
a great deal of milk for Birmingham. 

Mr. A. A. Lauderdale, County Agricultural Agent for Shelby 
County, puts it this way: 

Shelby County farm labor has been heavily drawn upon by the 
war industries of Childersburg, Talladega and Birmingham. Even un- 
der this handicap the county has adjusted its agriculture in a very 
surprising manner, producing many dairy and poultry products, beef 
cattle and hogs. Feed crops, principally of summer pastures, winter 
grazing, small grain and hays, are being produced on the farm to feed 
the livestock and poultry. At present we are selling daily two truck 
loads of milk to the Thorsby Plant and one to the plant in Sylacauga, 
in addition to the milk going to the Birmingham market. Truck crops 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 11 

are being produced in increased quantities for the local and Bir- 
mingham markets. This production is made possible by the greater 
use of farm machinery and farm people working longer hours. 
Farmers are also helping the war effort by cutting pulp wood and 
saw timber during the lay-by season. They yre making their contri- 
bution by buying war bonds and helping in all salvage campaigns. 

To accomplish all this production more workers weie employed in 
Shelby County in 1943 than in 1940. Men who for one reason or 
another had not been employed for some time have gone to work. 
Women have stepped in to fill the gap with the result that more 
women are employed now than ever before, thus helping to enlarge 
the county's work force not only for the present but for the post- 
war years as well. In this connection it is interesting to note that 
Shelby County is making preparations to keep this large work force 
usefully employed in the post-war period. Information released by 
Mr. Milton H. Fies, Chairman of District No. 2, of the Alabama 
Committee on Economic Development, which appeared in the Bir- 
mingham Age-Herald (January 26, 1944), shows this clearly: 

A post-war employment planning survey [has been completed] in 
Shelby County by a committee headed by George Scott, Jr., of Si- 
luria. Shelby County is the first county in the State to complete such 
a survey. Tabulations covering practically all the county's business 
firms showed an estimated post-war employment of ten per cent over 
1940, the best peace-time year ever experienced in the United States. 
Shelby County businesses and industries reported 374 former em- 
ployees now serving in the armed forces. All Shelby County enter- 
prises participating in the survey reported post-war plans in such 
form that they could proceed promptly after the war ends. Of the 
businesses reporting, forty-three per cent declared they are plan- 
ning extensions or expect to remodel their plants immediately^ after 
the war, while ten per cent advised that they expected to be in the 
market with new products. 1 

Women Fill the Gap 

It is especially interesting to note the many ways in which women 
have stepped in to take the places of men who have been called to 
the armed forces. In addition to the large number who have taken 
jobs in .the factories referred to above, wives whose husbands have 
been called to the armed forces have carried on in the trades and 
businesses and on the farms of the county. Interesting illustrations^ 
include managing a soft-drink distributing agency, an insurance 
agency, a gasoline service station, a retail dry-goods store and sl 
grocery store, and a plumbing business (the wife doing the work 



x The C. E. D. is making detailed studies of industrial employment needs in 
the post-war years. These studies are to be turned over to the State Cham- 
ber of Commerce to be used in planning for the State's future industrial 
expansion. 



12 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

herself) . Farm women have operated tractors, driven produce trucks 
to town and done many other kinds of work on the farm which the 
men folks do when they are at home. Nine of the 22 farm women in 
Miss Smenner's study (see page 38) were found to be operating the 
farms while the husbands were working in some war plant. There 
is a woman mail carrier out of Calera and a woman clerk in the post 
office at Montevallo. For the first time a woman is town clerk at 
Wilton. 2 

Many other married women have continued in or gone back to 
work in order to help out in the emergency. They are teaching in 
the kindergarten, in the elementary and high school, and in the col- 
lege; doing secretarial and stenographic work; clerking in stores; 
operating beauty parlors; and working in the whole gamut of occu- 
pations in which women have usually worked. There are more mar- 
ried students in Alabama College than in any previous time. Most 
of these are undergraduates who have married while the boys are in 
the services and have continued in school as a matter of course. 
There are, however, a number of older women who have returned 
to fit themselves better for some particular work. They plan to work 
while their husbands are gone and to be prepared to carry on in 
whatever circumstances the future has in store for them. 

Serving in the Armed Forces 

A community feels the impact of war first and with the greatest 
sense of personal loss when its sons and daughters are called up to 
fight. From the time of its organization to August, 1944, the Selec- 
tive Service System (Local Board No. 1 at Columbiana and Local 
Board No. 2 at Montevallo) has registered 9,054 men between ages 
18 and 65. Of this number 2,136 were inducted into some branch of 
the armed forces. The 6,918 men who were not inducted inductee, 
of course, men over military age, men deferred for family reasons 
and those deferred for essential war-related work, as well as those 
rejected as unfit for military service. Definite figures are 'not avail- 
able for the county as a whole on the numbers of men in these dif- 
ferent categories. However, from such samplings as are available it 
is safe to estimate that the number who were classified as unfit for 
military service is about half as great as the total number inducted. 
Close to 10 per cent of the number taken into the military services 
had, as of August, 1944, been discharged for one reason or another. 



2 Montevallo has had a woman member of the town council for several years. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 13 

Many young women have enlisted in the WAC, WAVE, SPAR, 
and Marines, but no records are available for the exact numbers. 

Professional Workers in Armed Forces 

The professional workers of Shelby County have responded to 
the call of the armed forces. As of August, 1944, there were serv- 
ing in some branch of the military service 2 of the county's doctors, 

1 a lieutenant (j. g.) in the navy and 1 a lieutenant in the army; 

2 of the county's dentists, 1 a captain and 1 a major in the army; 
and 3 nurses, 1 in the army, 1 in the navy, and 1 in the Veterans' 
Hospital at Tuscaloosa. One of the county's lawyers is serving in 
the navy. The Methodist minister at Wilton and both Baptist and 
Methodist ministers at Montevallo have joined the Chaplains Corps. 
Mr. P. B. Shaw, County Superintendent of Education, reported that 
as of August, 1944, 9 teachers of the county, 6 men and 3 women, 
were serving in the armed forces. This does not include the teachers 
in Alabama College Laboratory School. 

Alabama College, including the laboratory school, has lost 13 
men and women to the army, navy and merchant marine — 8 men 
and 5 women. Of this number 5 are on leave while the others have 
resigned. 

Education Does Its Part 

The County Schools have carried on with the handicaps of un- 
usual teacher turnover and, teacher shortages, scarcity of paper and 
office supplies and of janitor services, delay in the delivery of school 
books, and postponement of needed building and repairs. Children 
have had to ride to school in over-crowded school buses and some 
have walked who once could come in the buses. In spite of all this 
the quality of work has been maintained and many extra services to 
boys and girls have been provided. The high schools have added 
pre-induction courses and modified work in all areas where such 
changes could make a contribution to the war effort. Victory Corps 
have been organized in the high schools and through these student 
organizations much community service has been done — gathering 
scrap, sale of War Stamps and Bonds, promotion of victory gardens, 
and recreation programs for young people. High school students 
have been recruited for farm labor on Saturdays and during the 
summer and some have spent vacations working in the factories. 
Schools have been closed on special days so that the school children 
and the teachers could go to the fields to help pick cotton. 



14 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

Seven schools (Chelsea, Columbiana, Maylene, Montevallo, Pel- 
ham, Thompson, and Vincent) have provided government-aided 
school lunches. Nutrition education has been emphasized from the 
first grade through the high schools. The county teachers' organi- 
zation has maintained an active committee on nutrition. Two ele- 
mentary school teachers represented the Montevallo community at 
the National Conference on Nutrition in the Elementary Grades 
held at Terre Haute, Indiana, in July, 1944, under the auspices of 
the U. S. Office of Education. 

The three vocational home economics departments in the county, 
the county home demonstration service, and the home supervisor for 
the Farm Security Agency have worked individually with home- 
makers and conducted classes all over the county in food preserva- 
tion, gardening, poultry raising, meal planning, child care, family 
nutrition, care and repair of home furnishings and clothing, and 
home care of the sick. They have helped women to understand ra- 
tioning regulations and to budget their points in meal planning, and 
have aided in securing the homemakers' cooperation in the price- 
control program. Two slogans, familiar to all the homemakers of 
the county, have furnished the keynote for much of this work — 
"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without," and the O. P. A. 
homemaker's pledge, "I pay no more than top legal prices; I accept 
no rationed goods without giving up ration stamps." Plans are un- 
der way for setting up a community canning center under auspices 
of the vocational home economics and agriculture departments at 
Columbiana. 

Volunteer Wartime Services 

Citizens of Shelby County have been generous, indeed, with time 
devoted to the many volunteer services so necessary in time of war: 
Red Cross work, gathering scrap and saving kitchen fats; promoting 
and carrying out the sale of War Bonds and Stamps, volunteer work 
on Selective Service Boards and Price and Rationing Boards, distri- 
bution of ration books, community recreation, and service on com- 
mittees of many kinds such as local defense, Russian Relief, China 
Relief, and the Camp and Hospital Committee, which raised funds 
to furnish a sun room at Northington General Hospital for veterans 
of the war. Funds were raised in the community for the purchase of 
a piano for Camp Sibert, and almost everyone who had them has 
given books and magazines for camp and hospital libraries. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 15 

War Bond Sales 

Shelby County has met and surpassed its bond sales quota from 
the beginning of the bond sales campaigns through the Fifth War 
Loan Drive which ended in July, 1944. It has not always met the 
quota from month to month but the special drives have gone over 
the quota sufficiently to more than make up the difference. Dr. 
T. H. Napier, Executive Chairman of the War Finance Board of 
Shelby County, 4 has this to say: 

The success of these drives has been due largely to the number of 
people who have been willing to give their time to solicit sales. The 
number of individuals who have worked in the war loan drives has 
been very large and every organization in the county has participated. 
They have every right to feel proud, of the job they have done. For 
the Fifth War Loan Drive Shelby County had a quota of $183,000.00 
in E Bonds and the people of the county invested $226,631.00 in E 
Bonds. The total quota for the Fifth War Loan Drive was $386,000.00 
and the total sales in Shelby County were $608,314.00. It should be 
remembered that the sales are given in issue value and not in ma- 
turity value. All the people who have canvassed in Shelby County 
have contributed their time. Each beat had a chairman and was re- 
sponsible for the other members of the committee in that beat. In 
some beats there were twenty-five or thirty people at work but in 
smaller beats they were not so many. No one is able to give an ac- 
curate statement of the number of people who have cooperated in 
these sales. 

Red Cross Work 

The Red Cross, always first to respond to any call of suffering or 
need, has been well managed and well supported in Shelby County. 
In 1943, 2,100 different contributors gave $3,563.66 to the Red 
Cross. Volunteer workers have given their services in sewing rooms 
where garments have been produced for war-stricken countries, es- 
pecially Russia. An inventory of work done up to August 1, 1944, 
reported by the county chairman, gives some idea of the extent of 
these services: 

Garments made include 61 women's blouses, 41 girls' blouses, 32 wom- 
en's petticoats, 30 women's slips, 37 men's pajamas, 31 men's night 
shirts, 31 women's gowns, 2 cotton quilts, and 210 bed pan covers; 
while 75 bed socks, 20 pairs of army socks, 8 army sleeveless sweat- 
ers, 28 navy watch caps, 1 turtle neck sweater, 15 pairs of army gloves, 
1 army muffler, and lpair of navy socks have been knitted for the 
army and navy. Besides these, 200 bedside kits and 300 Christmas 
packages for men in the services have been prepared and given to 
the Red Cross for distribution. 

Much of this work has been possible because of the efforts of the 
women's clubs in the county. Red Cross educational work has in- 



4 Dr. Napier resigned as of August, 1944. 



16 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

eluded 2 first aid classes, enrolling 28 students, 27 of whom received 
certificates; and 15 classes in water safety, in which 191 of the 228 
students enrolled received certificates. 

Civilian Defense 

In the early months of the war, when invasion of the country 
seemed possible, the County Civilian Defense Committee was or- 
ganized as a part of the state and national defense program. Fire 
wardens and airplane spotters planned their organization and prac- 
ticed their duties. Citizens attended meetings to learn how to pro- 
tect themselves and how to act in case of bombings — how to prepare 
their houses so that the fire hazards would be as low as possible, 
how to put out incendiary bombs, how to wear gas masks. All this 
appears a bit preposterous now but in those days it seemed very im- 
portant and necessary. 

Plans were worked out in several towns of the county to take care 
of women and children if it should become necessary to evacuate 
families from the industrial area at Birmingham. The Montevallo 
Branch of the American Association of University Women, with as- 
sistance of other groups, worked out plans for taking care of child- 
ren evacuated from England but the British Government cancelled 
the plans for sending children to this country before any children 
were sent to Montevallo. 

Service on Boards and Committees 

It would be difficult to estimate the value or the amount of time 
given to the community by citizens who have served on the many 
boards and committees required to carry on the work of administer- 
ing wartime regulations and programs. Thirty-one citizens in this 
county, including the examining physicians, have given uncompen- 
sated time to the successful operation of the two local draft boards. 5 
These men have performed a difficult and extremely important ser- 
vice requiring judgment, infinite patience, and untiring effort. 

Rationing and Price Control has claimed the services of 56 per- 
sons since the organization of Shelby County War Price and Ration- 
ing Board No. 126, in December, 1941. Thirty-nine persons were 
giving volunteer service as of August 1, 1944 — as general adminis- 
trator of the board and as panel members and price assistants. The 
community is indebted to these people for maintaining good rela- 



5 As of August, 1944. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 17 

tions between merchants and consumers in the delicate situations 
that develop in the administration of price and rationing laws. 
Twenty-four persons have served as members of the price panel, or 
as price assistants in Columbiana, Montevallo, Calera, Siluria, Wil- 
sonville, Sterrett, Underwood, and Shelby. They check prices in lo- 
cal stores, distribute information, hear and adjust complaints and 
make sure that the regulations on price control are observed. With- 
out the support of these volunteer workers the machinery of price 
control could scarcely have functioned to prevent disastrous price 
inflation. Ten members are serving on the various rationing panels. 
They pass on applications for special allotments of all rationed 
goods, revoke privileges when necessary, refer violators to the prop- 
er legal authorities and make sure that food, shoes, automobiles, 
tires, gasoline, bicycles and stoves are distributed to the best inter- 
ests of the community and according to the law. The four members 
of the information panel plan and carry out programs to keep the 
public informed and cooperative. 

No report of freely given service to the rationing program would 
be complete without mentioning the hundreds of persons who as- 
sisted in distributing the ration books in the early days of the pro- 
gram. Teachers in the public schools bore the major part of this 
load. In like manner it is important to give credit to the merchants 
of the county for the patriotic and uncomplaining manner in which 
they have done the enormous amount of extra work required of 
them by rationing and price control. 

The Whole Community Has Cooperated 

The whole community has shared in the tasks of conserving rub- 
ber, sharing rides and helping in salvage collection, and has entered 
into the spirit of sharing which rationing, price control, and all the 
plans for conserving and caring for our resources have demanded. 

To call the roll of all the many ways in which citizens of the coun- 
ty have given volunteer service to the war effort would be a large 
task indeed. No doubt important instances have been overlooked. 
Certainly mention should be made of the time and effort contribut- 
ed by motion picture theatre operators in selling War Bonds and 
stamps, taking up collections in all the many campaigns for special 
funds, and exhibiting documentary films, especially from the Office 
of War Information. Editors of the county and local papers have 
given time to committee work and space (news, editorial and ad- 
vertising) for the promotion of all kinds of projects related to the 



18 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

war effort. The social workers of the county, working with the E.ed 
Cross, have assisted many service men and their families with their 
special problems, relating to furloughs, illness, pay and the like. 
Merchants have displayed posters, and have given many hours of 
time to explaining rationing regulations to the public. The county 
has met its full quota in every drive for contributions to the War 
Chest Fund. Shelby County may well be proud of the voluntary con- 
tributions of her citizens in their efforts to mitigate privations and 
hardships and to share in all the necessary work of preserving our 
economy through the war years. 

Like most other communities in Alabama and in the country, Shel- 
by County has mobilized her industry and agriculture, her business 
and her manpower and has dedicated her resources to the winning 
of the war. The schools, the churches and families have worked to- 
gether to maintain family morale and wholesome community life. 
In the light of the fact' that increased juvenile delinquency has be- 
come a problem of serious proportions in the State and the Nation, 
it is of special interest that only 2 cases of juvenile delinquency came 
before the county courts in 1943, and 5 up to August 1, in 1944. 
There were 16 such cases in 1940. 

Perhaps no more heartening note could be found on which to 
close. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 19 

CHAPTER 2 

ALABAMA COLLEGE IN THE WAR EFFORT 

Alabama College, which is located in Shelby County, has made 
numerous adjustments and has expanded its facilities in order to 
carry out its part in the war effort. In times of great distress and 
mental and emotional strain people need experiences to release 
nervous tensions and preserve emotional balance. Many experiences 
of college life are of great value in this way — reading great litera- 
ture, playing or listening to good music, participating in drama, 
athletic games, debate, craft work or creative art, or creative work 
in the field of home economics. Regular courses in applied psychol- 
ogy contribute to understanding human behavior and learning how 
to live effectively with people. Courses in abnormal psychology, 
mental hygiene, family relationships and child development prepare 
students for living in a world in v/hich war experiences have caused 
many people to suffer from neurotic disorders. Courses in nutrition, 
foods, health and physical education contribute to the health of the 
students. 

Regular Work Modified and New Work Set Up 
To Meet Demands of Wartime 

Regularly offered college courses in the social sciences have been 
adapted to wartime needs and have been valuable in developing un- 
derstanding of the present world situation — the social and economic 
problems in which the war had its origins and which must be under- 
stood as a basis for permanent peace. In addition to those offered 
especially for majors, many courses have been adapted to meet the 
needs of the whole college community. Among those specially val- 
uable to persons wishing to gain an intelligent understanding of the 
present world situation are Modern History of Europe, The British 
Empire and Commonwealth, Contemporary History, International 
Relationships, and the Geography of South America. 

The college is also developing an especially worthwhile program 
for Alabama teachers in the study of the human and natural re- 
sources of the State. The course offered in the summer of 1944,; 
which is only a beginning, included definite concrete facts — what 
the resources are, how they have been handled — and problems need- 
ing study and action. The course helps teachers not only to gain the 
knowledge they require for teaching if the schools are to participate 



20 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

effectively in building Alabama, but also to see the place of such 
materials in the school program. This work may be developed in the 
future to include preparation of reading materials for the schools. 

Special attention and guidance is given in the Foreign Language 
department to students who are interested in foreign language train- 
ing for war service. With such training they may serve as censors, 
translators, interpreters and the like. 

The School of Home Economics and the Department of Educa- 
tion, cooperating with the State Department of Education, have pro- 
vided special courses for training emergency teachers for the nurs- 
ery schools in war work areas. Clothing, house furnishings and home 
management courses have emphasized conservation and intelligent 
utilization of materials. 

A minor in Recreational Leadership has recently been added to 
the curriculum by the departments of Art, Music, Physical Education, 
and Speech. Students taking this minor have provided field work in 
community recreation in neighboring communities, including de- 
fense areas. These students have met with committees of the local 
communities to plan and conduct programs and have given a real 
service in war congested areas, in addition to developing much- 
needed leadership in this important field. First-aid, life-saving and 
water-safety, and home-nursing courses leading to standard and ad- 
vanced Red Cross certificates have been given to literally hundreds 
of persons, including townspeople as well as college students. The 
Biology Department offers courses which are designed especially to 
prepare students as public health and medical technicians. These 
students are prepared to assist doctors and dentists and to become 
technicians in hospital and state laboratories. The departments of 
Political Science, Sociology and Secretarial Science offer a minor in 
Public Administration which fits students for important public ser- 
vice. 

In addition to regularly offered work new courses have been add- 
ed or new programs worked out to prepare students for special re- 
sponsibilities in a society at war. Two one-hour courses are offered 
in the History Department designed to keep students and faculty 
members informed concerning the war in Europe and the war in the 
Pacific, respectively. For students looking forward to enlistment in 
the military services courses are available in introductory meteor- 
ology, map reading, and world geography. In the School of Home 
Economics courses in gardening, poultry and food preservation have 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 21 

been added to prepare students for more effective leadership in food 
conservation and production. 

The College radio has carried programs on nutrition, conserva- 
tion, and consumer information, and has broadcast round-table dis- 
cussions of problems of special concern in wartime. The Home 
Study Service has prepared special outlines and programs for clubs 
and Parent-Teacher Associations on subjects relating to the war 
effort. 

Services Offered to Members of the Armed Forces 
and to Wartime Community Enterprises 

There are no military camps in Shelby County but the College 
has provided for the entertainment of service men from camps 
throughout the State, who have been invited to college dances, con- 
certs, lectures and College Night programs. Men and women in the 
uniform of any of the armed forces of the Allied Nations are guests 
of the College while they are on the campus, and meals and admis- 
sion to all campus events are free to them. 

The Glee Club, small groups of music students, and the Dance 
Group have given concerts ; and groups from the College have given 
plays at the different military establishments and U. S. O. centers. 
Faculty members and students have traveled to industrial areas to 
give entertainments, conduct discussion groups, provide recreation 
programs and to assist with creative art centers. 

Faculty Serving in the Armed Forces 

The Alabama College faculty has lost thirteen members to the 
armed forces. Two men are serving in the navy: one a communica- 
tions officer with the rank of lieutenant (j. g.) in the Pacific thea- 
tre of war; another, also a lieutenant (j. g.) in the U. S. N. R. Am- 
munition Depot in California. One young woman is an ensign in 
the WAVE. Others include an army sergeant in the European thea- 
tre of war, a signal corps captain in the WAC serving in France. 
Three are army dietitians with rank of lieutenant, one in the Euro- 
pean theatre and two with the Army Nurse Corps. One member of 
the faculty enlisted in the merchant marine. Besides these there are 
four young men from whom information about military status is 
not available. 

Alabama College Students in Military Service 

The alumnae secretary has records of 119 graduates and former 
students who (as of August, 1944) were serving in some branch of 



22 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

the armed forces or other government service directly connected with 
the war effort. These services include the WAC, WAVE., SPAR, 
WASP, Marine Corps, army staff dietitian, AUS Medical Detach- 
ments, American Red Cross, and munitions inspectors; while one 
graduate of Alabama College is with the French Woman's Auxiliary. 

Faculty Civilian Services 

Besides the men and women serving in the armed forces other 
members of the College faculty have been granted leaves of absence 
for special civilian war service. An economist has been serving as 
regional officer for the Office of Price Administration since the 
early days of that organization. A home economist was on leave 
eight months in 1941 as specialist in the U. S. Office of Education 
to assist in organizing the Emergency Education Program. A mem- 
ber of the music faculty and a member of the physical education 
faculty are with the Red Cross in the European theatre of war. Oth- 
ers of the College staff who have resigned for war-related work in- 
clude the alumnae secretary (to do secretarial work at the Mobile 
shipyards) , a member of the psychology staff, a member of the Eng- 
lish staff, the executive secretary of the College (to do civilian per- 
sonnel work for the army), and a member of the library staff (to 
become a librarian at Maxwell Field) . Two members of the faculty 
of the laboratory schools resigned to become instructors in the Emer- 
gency Education Program at Mobile. 

Members of the College faculty have served on important boards 
and committees and have given service to much war-created work. 
The Dean of the College served as Executive Chairman of the War 
Finance Board of Shelby County from the time of its organization 
to the end of the Fifth War Loan Drive. The Business Manager 
served as chairman of Selective Service Local Board No. 2 for 12 
months. Three different members of the faculty have served on the 
Shelby County War Price and Rationing Board. The head of the 
School of Home Economics is a member of the State Nutrition 
Council, and another member of the home economics staff has been 
county nutrition chairman. A member of the history faculty is serv- 
ing on the Shelby County Committee on Economic Development. 
The head of the History Department edited for the Bureau of Pub- 
lic Administration, University of Alabama, the publication, War 
Comes to Alabama, an attempt to interpret what was happening to 
Alabama as a result of the impact of the war. She was author of the 
final chapter, "Post- War Prospects," and another member of the 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 23 

History Department faculty wrote the first chapter, "Population." 
The head of the Art Department is Crafts Consultant for the South- 
eastern Region, U. S. O. 

The College has also felt keenly the loss of many workmen from 
the campus. The college plumber was lost to the navy as a civilian 
worker at Key West. It has been much more difficult to keep up 
the lawns and the buildings, and the dietitian and her staff have 
been sorely taxed by the shortage of help. 

Vocational Guidance and Recruitment for Jobs 

The College has extended its facilities for helping students find 
jobs by cooperating with recruitment agencies for important war 
work. A representative of U. S. Civil Service was on the campus 
each week during the spring of 1944 for interviews with students, 
giving tests and signing up students (mainly seniors) for civil ser- 
vice jobs. Representatives of the Cadet Nurse Corps, WAC, WAVE, 
and Signal Corps, as well as of some important war industries, have 
come to the campus; and arrangements have been made for them to 
confer with interested students. 

In order that students might have as much guidance as possible in 
selecting the kind of work they could do in the war effort and to 
keep before them, also, their responsibilities for making contribu- 
tions the Convocation Committee has brought speakers to the cam- 
pus, the library has displayed books and pamphlets on war work, 
the Vocational Advisory service, the Vocational Guidance Commit- 
tee as well as department heads and other faculty members have 
provided for individual and group discussion of wartime job op- 
portunities and requirements. 

Recent graduates of the College, because of their special training, 
have been able to fill many inportant wartime jobs— chemical an- 
alysts and laboratory technicians for the Tennessee Coal and Iron 
Company, the Eastman Kodak Company, and the Childersburg mun- 
itions plant; draftsmen in the shipbuilding yards; personnel work- 
ers, occupational analysts and secretarial workers in war industries. 
They have gone into military services and the U. S. Employment Ser- 
vice; case work, recreational and administrative work with the Red 
Cross; civil service work of many kinds, especially as dietitians and 
secretaries. Four Alabama College students were selected for the 
Curtiss-Wright Training program which sent selected college wom- 
en graduates to engineering schools where they received special 
training for work in the aircraft industry. Two recent graduates 



24 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

went to the Bureau of Scientific Research in Washington, D. C. In 
the meantime, college graduates have continued to do the impor- 
tant work of teaching, social work, dietitians, secretarial work, and 
homemaking, as always. 

College Organizations 

Through the work of College organizations students have been 
able to take part in important war work. 

Each year since 1941, the Young Women's Christian Association 
has sponsored the World Student Service Fund drive on the Ala- 
bama College campus. This drive is for the relief of college students 
in war-torn countries and for the assistance of anyone who wishes to 
continue studying while in prison camps, no matter what country 
he may be in. The fund is given by college students to aid their 
fellow students. The money is distributed by the World Young 
Men's Christian Association with international headquarters in Ge- 
neva, Switzerland. For the three-year period of 1941 through 1943, 
the organization raised $807 and collected over 90 textbooks to be 
used by American student prisoners. The Y. W. C. A. also sponsor- 
ed the Red Cross work on the campus, making themselves respon- 
sible for a workroom where sewing and packing was done. In 1941- 
42, they made 30 layettes and knitted around 40 sweaters, scarfs, 
and caps. In 1942-43, they made 65 nightshirts; and in 1943-44, 50 
blouses for women and girls. Members of the Ivol Spafford Club, 
the home economics club on the campus, took the leadership in this 
work, organizing and directing the sewing. 

The Ivol Spafford Club has cooperated with other war activities 
on the campus and kept the pledge for bettering their nutritional 
habits, saving, and buying more carefully. They have also sponsored 
the scrap metal and scrap paper drives on the campus. The Retail- 
ing Club sponsored the sale of war stamps on the campus. Omicron 
Nu, honorary home economics society, made a study of the food 
habits of students in the College dining rooms in 1941-42, and in 
1942-43 made a survey of the vocational plans of Alabama College 
students. During 1943-44 they undertook to promote interest among 
the students in contributing to the blood plasma bank and to make 
arrangements with the hospital in Birmingham for students and 
faculty who volunteered. In 1944-45 they plan to carry forward the 
projects begun in the previous two years. 

The International Relations Club, which is organized under the 
Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, has for its purpose 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 25 

discussion of world affairs. This club sponsored discussions each 
week during 1942-43, at which a member of the faculty reviewed the 
war news and talked on any phase of the war in which he was par- 
ticularly interested. In 1943-44, in addition to the discussions, some 
new books having special bearing on the war were reviewed. The 
club receives a shipment of new books from the Carnegie Endow- 
ment each year and anyone in the College is privileged to read them. 

In 1943 an essay, 'The Next Decade in American Foreign Poli- 
cy," was prepared by students in the history department and pub- 
lished as a college bulletin. This had wide circulation and attracted 
comment from State newspapers. The History Department has been 
able to send to the Institute of Foreign Affairs, Stanford, Connecti- 
cut, two students who have taken training under Sir Norman Angell 
and have come back to do campus work relating to foreign affairs. 

Lambda Sigma Pi, national senior honorary society, has plans for 
sponsoring an all-college student career conference early in the 
1944.45 year. At this time, under the general supervision of the Di- 
rector of the Vocational Advisory Service, students will have an op- 
portunity to take vocational aptitude tests, attend round-table discus- 
sions and interview specialists in lines of work of interest to them, 
and to attend meetings at which an outstanding woman specially in- 
terested in women's work will be the speaker. This assistance in 
choosing the right occupation will be valuable to students in pre- 
paring themselves for their part in building the post-war world. 
Special contributions of other groups (Glee Club, Dance Group, 
Physical Education Club) have been mentioned in earlier sections. 1 

In addition to special services already described, the College has 
placed its facilities at the disposal of the community for war-related 
enterprises. Rooms in the College have been used for the Monte- 
vallo Red Cross Sewing Chapter. College auditoriums have been 
used for public meetings. In the early days of the war the College 
cooperated with the local Civilian Defense Committee in holding a 
series of meetings for the purpose of educating citizens in defense 
procedures — airplane spotting, fire fighting, protection from chem- 
ical warfare, and the like. Practically all college students have parti- 
cipated in one way or another in the many programs contributing to 
the war effort; and the administration, faculty and staff have at- 
tempted to make college programs sufficiently flexible and sensi- 
tive to new needs to be of maximum service in the country's time 
of special need. 

!See p. 11 



PART II 



Studies of Shelby County Homes 
In Wartime 



By 

Olivia Smenner 

Nellie Mae Touchstone 

Lois A. Ackerley 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 29 

INTRODUCTION 

General Statement and Need for the Study 

Economic and social changes in Shelby County since 1940, as de- 
scribed in Part I of this pamphlet, have influenced in many ways 
the lives of individuals and of families living in the county. The to- 
tal income of the county, along with that of the rest of the State, 
has increased greatly between 1940 and 1944. This fact suggested 
the hypothesis that families have had more to spend on their living. 
However, it seemed clear that all families have not had the same 
amount of change. It seemed probable that some families have suf- 
fered a decrease in income because the main wage earner has been 
drawn into the armed forces, while the amount of increase in other 
instances may have been small. Still others, doubtless, have had 
greatly increased incomes because family members have been em- 
ployed in war work at high wages, because business conditions have 
improved, or because better prices have been received for farm 
products. In some known instances dependency allotments from 
service men have provided better living for their families than they 
had ever known before. 

Important changes of a psychological nature have been exper- 
ienced. The security normally gained from wholesome family living 
has been threatened, possibly lost altogether in some instances, 
through the separation of family members and the postponement of 
family plans. Children have been growing up in homes without the 
fathers who are away at war. Normal affectional experiences have 
been denied. 

Home economists are concerned with what is happening to fam- 
ilies. They need to know what new problems are produced by the 
war and how families are meeting them. 

Along with others who care about the welfare of the people in 
the community, home economists have long been concerned with 
housing conditions in Shelby County. It has required no formal 
studies to reveal that many families live in homes that are below 
standards required for health, comfort and wholesome family life. 

Such investigations as have been made in recent years bear out 
this fact. A survey of Shelby County, made by the school authorities 
a few years ago, revealed unusually crowded living conditions, poor 
arrangements for sanitation, houses badly in need of repair, and 



30 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

poor home furnishings in many homes in the county. 1 Home econ- 
omics teachers, who visit all the homes of their high school home 
economics students for the purpose of supervising home project 
work, have for many years recognized the need for home improve- 
ment as one of their most important concerns. 

Common observation reveals that many new houses have been 
built in Shelby County during the past few years, and that old 
houses have been painted, re-roofed, and repaired. To what extent 
are families taking advantage of such increases in income as they 
have to make needed home improvements? 

The Problems Selected for Study 

Three members of the faculty of the School of Home Economics 
have undertaken, in the investigations reported here, to throw some 
light on the question raised above. Limited resources for investiga- 
tions have led to the selection of this aspect of family living for 
study because it is tangible and lends itself to reasonably objective 
consideration. The house, its equipment, and its furnishings can 
readily be observed. An investigation concerned with the house has 
the further advantage that it reflects quickly any changes in econ- 
omic status. In turn, the house they live in, with its furnishings, af- 
fects the individuals of the family in so far as it provides adequately 
not only for comfort and shelter but for rest, relaxation and feelings 
of security. The home, that is, the physical setting for the family, 
may go even further in affording opportunities for self-expression 
and in making possible satisfying social contacts between the fam- 
ily and the community. Answers to the following questions are 
sought: 

To what extent do families have more money to spend ? 

How much, and in what ways, have they spent their money on 
home improvements? 

What kinds of improvements have they made? 

In what ways, and to what extent have scarcities in materials and 
equipment usually available for the upkeep of homes affected their 
plans and how have wartime priorities hindered them in their ef- 
forts? 

To what extent and in what ways have these scarcities of ma- 
terials affected the comfort and convenience of families? 



l A Survey of Shelby County. Faculty Alabama College Laboratory School. 
Unpublished study. Department of Education, Alabama College, 1935. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 31 

Method of Securing Data 

Each of the three investigators used a questionnaire for securing 
data and certain questions were common to each study: (1) What 
is the occupation of the main wage earner? (2) What is the size and 
composition of the family? (3) In which of four groups does the 
past year's income belong — Group I, $999 or less; Group II, $1000- 
1999; Group III, $2000-2999; Group IV, $3000 or more? (4) 
Has there been a change in income since the war began and if so, 
what is the approximate amount of income increase or decrease? 

Answers to the questionnaire were secured, for the most part, by 
the interview method, either in the home or at a group meeting of 
some kind; but a small number were obtained by mail. In each case 
the information was secured from the mother of the family. 

Brief Summary of Data Common to All Three Studies 

( 1 ) Occupation and family size 

Data were secured from a total of 342 families — 111 in Miss 
Smenner's study, 106 in Miss Touchstone's, and 123 in Miss Ack- 
erley's. In an effort to get a varied sampling of the population of 
the county, inquiries were made of families whose main wage earn- 
ers were employed in industrial plants and textile mills, in mining, 
on farms — both as owners and as tenants, including a few clients of 
the Farm Security Administration — in business both large and small, 
in the professions, and as city and town officials and employees of 
the federal government. 

These families range in size from 1 to 14, the most usual being 
a family of four or five members. 

(2) Income status and income change since 1940 

Incomes ranged from those of a few families who received public 
assistance to very comfortable ones, but the most usual income was 
found to be between $1000 and $2000. 

No family reported an income for the past year that was less than 
that of the year just before the war. About half of these families had 
had increased incomes and about half believed their incomes to be 
the same as before. There were some increased incomes and some 
that remained the same in each occupational group. Workers in the 
skilled trades and farmers reported increased income more frequent- 
ly than any of the other occupational groups; semi-skilled and cleri- 
cal groups the next most frequently; while those engaged in the pro- 



32 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

fessions and in businesses most frequently reported no increase in 
income. However, in each occupational group there was wide varia- 
tion in the amount of increase in the income for those whose in- 
comes were greater. 

Three Studies 

Miss Olivia Smenner has attempted to find out how much and 
what kinds of improvements have been made in housing and who 
has made them; whether increased income or some other influence 
has led to the improvements that have been made; and what kinds 
of satisfactions the families have experienced in making these im- 
provements. 

Miss Nellie Mae Touchstone, in her investigation, has sought 
answers to similar questions regarding improvements in house fur- 
nishings, while Dr. Lois Ackerley has inquired into the effects of 
wartime conditions on the kinds of small kitchen equipment home- 
makers have been able to secure and the kinds of service they have 
had from articles made from the substitute materials made neces- 
sary by the war priorities. The data of the study were collected dur- 
ing the summer of 1944. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 33 

CHAPTER 1 

A STUDY OF HOUSING IN SHELBY COUNTY, 1941-1944 

Shelter is a fundamental need for everyone. The house protects 
the family members from outside influences and contributes to their 
inner needs as well. It has been said that any man's worth depends 
upon the state of mind which his home and family nurture in him. 
The home is of inestimable value to the child also. This idea is best 
stated in the White House Conference Report on The Home and 
The Child: "The house in which a child spends the early years of 
his life is intimately associated with all the first impressions which 
shape his later attitudes and affect in many ways his development. 
It should express the highest standard which the income can pro- 
vide." The home furnishes a basis of security and happiness for the 
family. 

It was with values such as these in mind that this study of housing 
in Shelby County was undertaken. 

The Problem 

Thinking that the increased amount of war work in Shelby Coun- 
ty might have resulted in an increase of family income, we wanted 
to find out if any of it was being used for improved housing and 
for care of grounds around the home. We wanted to determine the 
extent and kind of such improvements as were being made, as well 
as the improvements families had planned but had not been able to 
make because of the war. We also wanted to know what kinds of 
satisfactions families sought and secured from the improvements 
they had made on their homes. 

Method of Collecting Materials 

Women's organizations of the various churches in Calera, Colum- 
biana, Montevallo, and Siluria assisted in locating families and se- 
curing their cooperation in the study. The County Home Demonstra- 
tion Agent and the Home Supervisor for the Farm Security Admin- 
istration assisted in reaching rural groups, and home economics 
teachers at Montevallo and Columbiana helped locate other families. 

The questionnaires were presented to 150 women in different 
parts of the county. Of that number 111, or 74 per cent, filled out 
and returned them. One-half of the questionnaires (56) were filled 
out in personal interviews; one-third (37) were secured at group 



34 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

meetings with someone to assist the women in filling them out; 
while the remaining 17 per cent (18) were filled out independently 
and returned by mail. An explanation of the study was made to each 
person who was willing to fill out the questionnaire. General ques- 
tions pertaining to the family background were asked before speci- 
fic questions on housing were presented. 

The Questionnaire 

The general questions called for information on the following: 
(l) the occupation of the head of the family, (2) the size and com- 
position of the family, (3) status of the home, whether owned or 
rented, (4) income bracket for the previous year, and (5) changes 
in income since the war began. 

The questions on housing asked for: (1) the kinds of improve- 
ments that had been made since 1940, (2) the cost of improvements 
made, (3) method of securing labor and materials, (4) the diffi- 
culties that had prevented making desired improvements, (5) the 
improvements to be accomplished when the war is over and mater- 
ials and labor are again available, and (6) ways in which the home- 
maker believed the family had benefitted by such home improve- 
ments as had been made. 

The various types of improvements inquired about in the ques- 
tionnaire were organized under four headings: (l) Remodeling, 
including the addition of rooms to the house, partitioning space off 
for extra rooms or closets, making additions or changes in the kit- 
chen or other rooms, or adding porches and screening house or 
porch; (2) Modernizing, including the installation of electricity for 
lights or cooking, installation of a central heating system, the addi- 
tion of a new well or pump for the well, running water added to 
the bathroom or kitchen, provision of outdoor sanitary facilities 
where no sewage systems were available, insulation of the house or 
part of it, and screening the house if it had never been screened; 

(3) Repairing, under which were included such items as adding a 
new roof or repairing an old one, painting the outside of the house, 
repairing stairways, refinishing floors, walls and woodwork in the 
interior of the house, repairing porches, chimneys, windows, siding, 
or foundations of the house, and repairing or replacing screens; and 

(4) Improvement of the home grounds, under which were included 
such items as planting shrubs, grass, flowers, fruit or shade trees, 
terracing the yard, putting in a drainage system, putting down walks 
or driveways, and making a service area or outdoor living room. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 35 

The questionnaire was set up so that specific items of improve- 
ment made in each of the four large areas could be checked. For 
each item space was provided for checking the cost of each improve- 
ment. Where improvements had not been made or were not exten- 
sive, the women were asked to check under a general heading, "Rea- 
sons for not making other desired improvements," any of three sub- 
points, "inability to get labor," "inability to get materials," and 
"lack of money." In a third column, with the heading, "Things you 
intend to do when peace returns," they were asked to indicate im- 
provements which they considered necessary to their homes and 
which they hoped to make after the war. 

They were asked also to say who did the work — whether a hired 
laborer, the husband or some combination of family members; which 
of the materials used in these improvements were available at home 
without cost, such as homemade lumber and shingles, stone, sand 
or gravel. 

Writing was required for answering the last two questions, which 
were "What personal benefits did you and your family get from im- 
proving the home?" and "Please give some interesting reactions." 

Findings on the General Questions About the Families 

Families Studied 

The 111 families represent all occupational groups in the county. 
However, since most of the unskilled laborers and miners had to be 
reached entirely by personal interviews in their homes, and means 
of getting to homes too far away to reach by walking were limited, 
the sampling from these occupational groups is smaller than their 
numbers in the total population makes desirable. The findings of 
this study apply more particularly to those elements in the popula- 
tion represented in the cooperating groups, namely, church groups, 
clients of the Extension Service and Farm Security Agency, and fam- 
ilies whose children take home economics in high school. 

Occupational and Income Groups 

For purposes of comparison the replies were organized on the ba- 
sis of the occupation of the head of the family into the following 
eight groups: I. Professional and executive, II. Semi-professional 
and managerial, III. Clerical, retail business and skilled laborers, 
IV. Farmers, V. Semi-skilled laborers, minor clerical and business 
workers, VI. Unskilled laborers. Two other groups included: VII. 
Homemakers who were widows and did not work outside their 



36 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



homes, and VIII. A miscellaneous group consisting of servicemen, 
retired businessmen, and an unclassified railroad man. 2 These last 
two groups are too small for significant comparison. In order to 
make further comparisons, the replies were tabulated again on the 
basis of family income, irrespective of occupational status. Since 6 
women of the 111 studied did not supply information about income, 
the 103 families who did state the income are represented in this 
grouping. Table I shows the distribution of these 111 families in 
the several occupational and income groups. 

Tables I. Distribution of 111 Families in Four Different Income Groups 
and According to Occupational Classification 

No. of families Income Groups 

__ _ ^ ^ ^ ^ $3000 and 

Occupa- in giving ^ ^ $1999 * 

tional study income >T z — ^ ~J= 

Groups data No. Per No. Per No. Per No. Per 

Cent Cent Cent Cent 

All groups. 111 103 23 22.5 35 34 19 18.5 26 25 

I. Professional 

& Executive.. 17 16 2 12.5 4 25 1 6.2 9 56.3 

II. Managerial 

& Semi-Prof.. 9 9 1 11 3 33 5 56 

III. Retail 
Business 
Skilled 

Trades 21 20 1 5 8 40 7 35 4 20 

IV. Farmers- 22 20 11 55 7 35 2 10 

V. Minor Busi- 
ness or Cleri- 
cal Jobs 20 17 3 18 9 53 4 23 16 

VI. Unskilled 

Labor 5 5 3 60 2 40 

VII. House- 
wives 5 4 2 50 1 25 1 25 

VIII. Misc.— 12 12 1 8.3 3 25 3 25 5 41.7 

TOTAL —lU 103 23~~ 35 19 26 



Note: Percentages are figured on basis of the number of 103 families who 
supplied income data. 



2 Group I — Lawyers, doctors, druggists, ministers, teachers and morticians ; 
Group II — Bankers, post office officials, contractors, Alabama Power Com- 
pany manager, solid fuels administrator, cotton brokers, owner of a lumber 
and building materials business ; Group III — Post office clerks, sales man- 
agers, surveyor, automobile dealers, merchants, airplane inspectors, factory 
foremen, carpenters, and railroad clerks; Group IV — Farmers, seven of 
whom also have war jobs such as firemen, tractor drivers, outside worker at 
a mine, and powder plant employees ; Group V — A. saw mill contractor, ga- 
rage owners, sales tax examiners, miners, defense workers, store clerks, 
stenographers, and barbers ; Group VI — Textile workers, heading sawyers, 
sawmill workers, and haulers ; Group VII is made up of the homemakers, 
who do not work outside the home ; and Group VIII includes a miscellaneous 
group composed of service men's families, retired business or professional 
men, and an unclassified railroad man. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 37 

Family Size and Composition 

Family sizes ranged from 1 to 12, but most of the families, 97 
out of the 111, had between 2 and 5 members. (See table II.) There 
were 13 widows, 2 having no one living with them, and 7 families 
who had other relatives living with them: 1 grandfather, 2 grand- 
mothers, 2 grandsons, 1 elderly aunt, and 1 daughter-in-law. 

Of these families, 23 had sons and daughters in some branch of 
the armed forces; 17 families had 1 son each; 4 families had 2 sons 
each; and there was 1 daughter each in 2 other families — 25 boys 
and 2 girls in all. The families altogether have 54 boys and 44 girls 
of school age (6 to 17 years) ; 16 boys and 17 girls of pre-school 
age; and 49 boys and 47 girls over 17 years of age. It is interesting 
to note that the number of boys and girls in these 111 families is 
almost equal at each age group, but more girls are at home now be- 
cause military service has called the boys away. 

Table II. Family Size and Composition 

Number of Families of Each Size 
Number of members 
in family 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 

Whole families 98 17 26 22 21 5 2 1 2 1 1 

Mothers only 13 2 4 1 2 4 

Having relatives 

in the home 7 114 1 

TOTALS 111 2 21 27 24 25 5 2 1 2 1 1 

Size of Houses in Relation to Family Size 

The size of the house was checked because of the possible rela- 
tionship between that and the amount of improvements made. These 
houses ranged in size from 2 to 11 rooms. Professional and manag- 
erial groups lived in houses with an average of slightly over 7 rooms. 
Houses of all other groups, except that of unskilled labor, averaged 
5.5 rooms, while this last named group lived in houses which had, 
on the average, only 4.9 rooms. 

Of the 111 houses 63, or 57 per cent, had bathrooms, 10 families 
had 2 bathrooms, and 1 had 3. 

The size of the house is related to the, occupational status of the 
family head. The semi-skilled trade group has the smallest size 
house ; however, in relation to the size of the family, it is more ade- 
quate than the houses of some of the higher income groups. The 
professional, managerial, housewife, and miscellaneous groups av- 



38 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



erage 7.5 rooms for each house, while the retail or skilled trade, the 
farmers, and small business groups average 5.5 rooms. The number 
of homes with or without bathrooms seems to bear some relation to 
occupational status, the managerial group having the most. 

Table III shows that 26 families live in six-room houses and 22 
of that number have 5 or less members per family; 18 families live 
in five-room houses, but 15 of them have four or less members. Of 
the 19 families living in seven-room houses, 16 have 5 or fewer 
members. In general, the size of the family is in inverse ratio to the 
size of the houses. In 14 families the home has less than 1 room per 
person. The most unsatisfactory housing arrangements are found in 
the family of 9 living in a four-room house, a family of 10 in a six- 
room house, and a family of 12 in an eight-room house. 

Table III. Comparison of Family Size and Number of Rooms in House 









Number 


Livir 


g in 


Each Size 


House 






No. in 


family 








Number 


of rooms 


in h 


ouse 




Total 




2 


3 


4 


5 


6 


7 8 


9 


10 


11 




1__ 














2 








2 


2__ 




1 




2 


4 


8 


1 2 


1 






19 


3__ 






1 


4 


5 


5 


4 2 


4 


1 




26 


4__ 






4 


2 


6 


5 


2 


3 




1 


23 


5_. 








3 


2 


4 


7 4 


2 


1 




23 


6_. 










1 


2 


1 




1 




5 


7__ 












1 


1 








2 


8__ 














1 








1 


9_. 








1 






1 








2 


10- 












1 










1 


11.. 
























12_. 


>TAL___ 












1 








1 


TC 


1 


5 


12 


18 


26 


19 10 


10 


3 


1 


105 



105 families — six did not give number of rooms in house. 

Home Ownership 

Of the 89 non-farm families, 67, or 73 per cent, own their homes. 
As might be expected, the largest number of renters, 40 per cent in 
each group, is in the semi-skilled and unskilled labor groups, while 
only 15 per cent of the 26 families in the professional and business 
groups rent their homes. 

Farm Families 

Only 3 of the 22 farm families were tenant farmers; however, 5 
of them were purchasing their farms through the Farm Security 
Agency. The farms ranged in size from 25 to 290 acres, the average 
size being 89.75 acres, and the size most often stated 75 acres. In 7 
cases the fathers worked at other jobs in addition to farming. In 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 39 

these instances it was usual for the mothers to manage the farms 
with such help as the husbands were able to give during their off 
hours. 

Income Changes During the War Period 

Of the 103 families who supplied income data, 47, or 45 per cent, 
(See Table I), reported having increased incomes since the war be- 
gan; 58, or 55 per cent, reported no change in income during the 
period studied; while none claimed to have a smaller income than 
they had before the beginning of the war. 

A comparison of income changes according to the occupations of 
family heads revealed greater and more numerous increases for 
families in the lower occupational groups, 70 per cent of the farm- 
ers, 55 per cent of the skilled trades and business group, and 50 per 
cent of the minor clerical and semi-skilled trades group having larg- 
er incomes than they had before the war. On the other hand, 70 per 
cent of the professional and executive group and 78 per cent of the 
managerial and semi-professional group reported no increase in in- 
come at all. In the miscellaneous classification, 83 per cent reported 
no change, and 17 per cent had had an increase in earnings. 

When income change was studied according to different income 
groups a still different picture was disclosed. Only one group — that 
between $1000 and $1999 — reported "increased income" as fre- 
quently as "no change in income." To enlarge, of the 25 families in 
the group earning less than $1000, 9 families earn more and 15 have 
had no change in income since the war began. Of the 35 families in 
the group earning between $1000 and $1999, 18 have had an in- 
crease of income and 17 have the same income. Of the 20 families 
whose incomes are in the group between $2000 and $2999, 8 have 
more money and 11 have the same amount to spend. Of the 25 fam- 
ilies in the group earning over $3000, 11 earn more and 14 have 
the same incomes they had before the war. 

Extent and Kind of Home Improvements Made 

From these data, supplied by 111 families of Shelby County, an 
interesting story of their efforts to improve their homes takes form. 
The data, though not extensive, reveal an over-all picture of what 
these people are doing now and planning for the future. They show 
that 93 families, 84 per cent of the total group, have made some im- 
provements in their homes since the beginning of the war. Two- 
thirds of this number spent something on repairs, one-third made 



40 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



some effort to beautify the grounds, over one-fourth remodeled 
their houses in some way, and one-fifth modernized their houses. 3 
The total amount spent for all improvements was $14,099.78, an 
average of $151.61 per family. 

Table IV shows the distribution of this $14,099.78 among the 
different types of improvements and the average expenditure per 
family on each. 



Table IV. Expenditures for Four Different Types of Housing 
Improvements Made by 93 Families 

l Tt ^— -"H e^Les Spf: oW& 

ment made . & r u * per family spent on 

type for each type F . . J l . 
_ J J_ on each type type 

Remodeling 31 $ 3,319.85 $107.09 23.5 

Modernizing 23 1,908.50 82.98 13.5 

Repairing 76 8,072.33 106.21 57.3 

Beautifying 

grounds 47 799.10 17.00 57.3 

TOTALS 177 $14,099.78 $151.61 100.0 

Note : The total njumber here is greater than 93, the number of families, be- 
cause some families made more than one type of improvement. 

Remodeling 

Remodeling was done by 31 families or 27.9 per cent of the total 
group studied. These families spent $3319-85 or an average of 
$107.09 per family. Of these families 8 built new porches at a cost 
of $641; 8 screened their porches, spending $209; 7 added cabinets 
or built-in furniture at a cost of $152, 6 changed partitions in the 
house to make new space or made a room out of a hall, spending 
$531 for the improvement; 6 built storage closets and a pantry, 
costing $94; and 6 others remodeled kitchens at a cost of $173.85; 
3 families built new rooms at a cost of $585; two added new bath- 
rooms which cost $425. Miscellaneous items for one family each 
included de-termiting the house, re-working a basement into a play 
room, and adding table-top cabinets to the kitchen, at a total cost 
of $485. The amount spent per family on remodeling the houses 
ranged from $5 to $425. 

Modernizing 

Only 23 or one-fifth of the homes were modernized. The total 
amount spent was $1908.50, the average cost being $82.98. At a 
cost of $208, 7 families (6 of them farmers) built new sanitary 

3 For explanation of terms, see pages 34 and 35. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 4l 

out-door toilets; 5 new wells, with pumps added to three of them, 
cost $306; 3 families spent $430 for bathroom and kitchen fixtures; 
2 spent $125 for running water in the bathrooms; 4 screened houses 
for the first time at a cost of $68. Three families (all farmers) spent 
$130 to install electricity in their homes; 2 families insulated part 
of the house at a cost of $110. An attic fan, stoker and miscel- 
laneous items cost one family $531.50. The cost per family of these 
improvements ranged from $14.50 to $247. 

Repairing 

Some repairs were made on their homes by 76 families, 68.5 per 
cent of the number studied. The total cost was $8072.33 with an 
average cost per family of $106.21. 

The largest outlay of all money spent for repairing was spent on 
painting the exterior of the house. Thirty-seven per cent of the fam- 
ilies spent $2713.50 on painting frame houses or on the wood trim 
of the exterior of brick homes. Slightly over one-half (41 families) 
refinished the walls of their houses, using paint, Kemtone, wall 
paper, or plaster at a total cost of $1539. Painting woodwork in the 
house was done by 50 per cent of them at a cost of $1350; varnish- 
ing floors was done by 24 per cent at a cost of $3~'3.05: screens 
were mended or replaced by 21 per cent of the families at a cost of 
$193.48; a new roof was put on the house or the roof repaired at a 
cost of $1071 by 20 per cent of them; and another 20 per cent re- 
paired porches at a cost of $150.74. Smaller numbers spent $168.50 
repairing windows, $115.51 repairing foundations of the house, 
$108.50 repairing floors, $79-50 making outside stairways safe, and 
$30 repairing chimneys. Replacing old sewage pipes with steel ones 
and many odd jobs account for $179-35. 

The cost per family for repairing ranged from $5 to $550. Of all 
occupational groups, Group VII, the housewives, spent most, av- 
eraging $197 each. The next highest amount was spent by Group 
III, the retail business and skilled trades, their average being $129-25 
per family. The lowest expenditure per family, $30, was in Group 
VI, the unskilled laborers. The farmers averaged $76.73 per family. 

Improvements Made to Yards 

Since good housing includes an interesting setting for the home, 
some questions were asked about the yard. Forty-seven families, or 
42 per cent, had improved the home grounds since the war. As one 
might expect, much less was spent on the yard than on the improve- 



42 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

merits of the house. The total cost was $799.10, or an average of 
$17 per family. The range in cost was $1 to $100, but most of the 
families spent less than $25. 

Of these 47 families, 30 spent $41.90 for flowers; 21 families 
spent $92.50 for shrubs; 12 planted grass at a cost of $21.80. Plant- 
ing trees was no small item in the cost of yard improvements made 
by 24 families. Of this number, 16 families spent $213.50 for fruit 
trees. The largest single amount spent for fruit trees by one person 
was $80, but the cost ranged from $3 to $80. Pecan trees which cost 
$13 were planted by 4 families, and shade trees which cost from 
nothing to $20 were planted by four (one planting a cork tree given 
by the government as an expeirment). In all, $248.50 was spent for 
new trees either for home improvement, to furnish food for the 
family or to bring in an income later. Trees were planted by 9 
farmers, 5 families in the retail business group, 4 families in the 
clerical and semi-skilled group, 3 families in the professional group, 
and 1 family in the unskilled group. 

Of the total number improving the grounds, 6 families put down 
concrete walks at a, cost of $78 ; 5 made an outdoor living room at 
a cost of $5S, and 4 made a service area at a cost of $7; 3 families 
terraced the yard at a cost of $69, and 2 put in a drainage system at 
a cost of $100; 1 family built a barbecue pit at a cost of $12.50; and 
another put up two spotlights which amounted to $30, so that the 
family might play games at night. 

In response to the question, "Did you attempt to landscape the 
yard?" 57 per cent answered "yes" and 43 per cent answered "no." 
Less landscaping was done by the low income groups than by those 
of the higher brackets ; however, in no group did all of the members 
attempt some organized method of planting the home grounds. 

Who Did the Work on Home Improvements? 

Although hired help was employed in many instances, particular- 
ly for the more highly skilled kinds of work, family members did a 
great deal of the work required to make these home improvements. 
Nearly three- fourths of the 31 families who remodeled their homes 
employed hired labor; but in 3 families the husband and wife did 
all the work; in another the husband did all the work; and in still 
another, all of the work was done by a combination of the family 
members. Of the 76 families who repaired their homes, 43 hired 
all the work done. In 10 of the homes most of the work was done 
by the combined efforts of the husband, wife and children with a 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 43 

small amount of hired labor where special skills were needed. The 
work in 8 of the homes was done as a cooperative job by the hus- 
band and wife; the husband did all the work in 8 of the families; 
and in 5 homes the mother and children did the work. Of the 47 
families, 39 used hired help for a great part in the work done on 
the yards, even though some members of the family helped in ev- 
ery case. In 8 families no hired help of any kind was used. 

Home-Produced Building Material 

From their own property 15 families were able to furnish part of 
the materials needed for the improvement of their homes. Of these, 
4 used homemade lumber; 4 had stone; 3 each had sand and gravel; 
and 1 supplied homemade shingles. All of these people, except a 
teacher who lived on a farm, were farmers. 

Relation of Income and Occupational Status to Amount 
Spent on Home Improvements 

Examining the data in another way reveals interesting relation- 
ships between family income and the amount of improvements 
made. Table V shows the amounts spent by each of the different 
occupational groups on four different types of housing, and Table 
VI shows how these expenditures were made according to the size 
of annual income. Tables V and VI should be studied together. 

Table VI shows a gradual increase in average expenditure per 
family for home improvement as income increases, being respective- 
ly $121.37, $122.34, ?131.24, and $152.59 for the four income 
classifications. While the largest total outlay, $4281.90, was made 
by the middle income groups, $1000 to $1999, more families in this 
group improved their homes, making for a smaller average expendi- 
ture. It is interesting to note, however, that the families in the high- 
est occupational groups have not spent most on home improvements. 
The largest average expenditure per farnily made in any occupa- 
tional group, except for the one family in the unskilled labor group 
and the "homemakers" group, was in the semi-skilled labor group, 
being $199.31. One may, therefore, conclude that the amount of ex- 
penditures was not greatly influenced by the size of the income. 

Difficulties That Prevented Families From Making 
Desired lmpro vem ents 

Almost three- fourths of the group (80 families) did no remod- 
eling. Most of the families who had wished to do so gave more than 
one reason. Of this number, 46 mentioned the scarcity of required 



44 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



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46 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

materials; 33 could not get the necessary labor; 19 stated that they 
did not have the money or preferred to buy war bonds; 16 said they 
were doing the necessities only, while 8 felt there were no pressing 
needs at present. One interesting reason was given by the home- 
maker who was waiting to see what new materials will be on the 
market after the war. She is interested in plastics and glass brick. 

Although the modernizing improvements were not extensive, the 
families gave logical reasons for not accomplishing more. In 31 
cases, the families felt that their homes were up-to-date for the 
present, while in another 31 cases they said they did not have the 
money, 12 of these feeling that other needs were greater. Twenty- 
five said they could not get materials, and 20 could not get labor; 5 
felt that they should not spend their money in this way in wartime; 
and 10 did not answer the question. 

Of the 100 women who replied to the question about repairing, 
44 said they were unable to get labor; 40 could not get the mater- 
ials; 37 did not have the money, or did not want to spend it that 
way in wartime; 13 said that they had spent just enough to keep the 
property up during the emergency; and 9 said their homes were al- 
ready in good repair. 

When asked why they did not do more to the yards, 52, or 47 per 
cent, said they had neither the time to do the work themselves nor 
the money to pay the high wages to have it done. Even though they 
were willing to pay for it, 35 could not get the labor. A smaller 
number, 11, said they could not get materials; 7 felt they had done 
enough as they wanted the grounds simple. 

Effect of Renting on Home Improvement 

The 19 families who are renters gave this fact as a reason for not 
modernizing or making needed repairs to their homes. Ten other 
families have plans to build new homes when the war is over and 
so are doing a minimum of work on their old houses now. 

After the War Plans 

Remodeling Plans 

Since people now are living busy lives and often only the essen- 
tials can be looked after, the women were asked what they plan to 
do to their homes after the war. Following are some of their hous- 
ing plans for the future as revealed by their answers to the question. 

Of the 65 families who plan to remodel their homes, 16 plan to 
remodel the kitchen and another 16 plan to build a new home; 14 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 47 

want to add a new bathroom; 11 want to screen their porches; 8 
want to build storage or linen closets; 6 in each case want to build 
and screen a new porch, or to build other rooms onto their houses; 
1 family each plans to build a guest house over the garage or to 
make a playroom in the attic or to excavate and build a cement base- 
ment, or build a child's play house and workshop, or a garage and 
a car porte, or ceil the attic so that it can be used for storage. In 2 
cases the family plans to make over one-half of the house into an 
apartment for rent. 
Modernizing Plans 

Modernizing plans for after the war are much like the plans that 
have already been stated. They mention 34 items as being greatly 
desired: 9 families want to equip bathrooms which are not now us- 
able (this includes installing running water and fixtures in 5 cases, 
adding running water only in 2 others and installing fixtures in 2 
others) ; 6 families want running water in the kitchen; 3 each want 
to put in a central heating system, to put in electricity, or to build 
new outdoor sanitary facilities; 2 families each expect to insulate 
the house, add another bathroom, or buy a new furnace; 1 each ex- 
pects to finish up a basement and plaster the walls, to rewire the 
whole house and put in a sufficient number of floor plugs, or to dig 
a new well and have a pump. These improvements should contrib- 
ute a great deal to family comfort and health. 
Repairing Plans 

When asked about repairing, more families were sure about what 
they wanted to do when normal times return than they were about 
any other kind of improvement. Suggesting some 166 items, 21 
families want something done to the exterior of the house, either 
painting the house, painting the wood trim or pointing a brick 
house (renew cement between bricks), improvements which they 
think the cost of labor prohibits now; 52 want to re-decorate the in- 
tenor of the house, 44 wanting to decorate walls, woodwork or 
floors, and 8 wanting the entire house fixed over; 10 want new 
screens, and 6 need a new roof. Other things such as the replace- 
ment of casement windows, Venetian blinds, repairing gutters and 
leaks, new outside stairs, and repairing the foundation of the house 
were mentioned 3 or 4 times each. Of the 25 families who rent 
their houses, 19 have no plans in mind to suggest to the landlord. 
Yard Improvement 

The plans for the improvement of the yard were not as extensive 
as the ones for the house. One-fifth of the total group (22) want 



48 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

to improve the yard either by re-landscaping the neglected back 
yard or reorganizing the whole setting. About the same number 
were not quite as ambitious in plans, but they wish to add to the 
yard each year until it pleases them. Of those who plan improve- 
ments, 7 families want new walks and driveways, 6 wish to replace 
shrubs they have with more desirable ones, and 4 intend to have an 
outdoor living room. Others want to fence the back yard, put in a 
drainage system, build a trellis for flowers, plant flowers other than 
perennials, and build a barbecue pit. 

The Value to the Family of Improvements Made or Planned 
Value of Improving the Yard 

There were over 100 different items mentioned in response to the 
question about the value to the family of having a beautiful yard. 
These responses were tabulated under three headings: value to the 
small child, value to youth, and value to the parents. People par- 
ticularly wanted a yard as a playground for little children. 

A well-planned yard is especially appreciated for its part in keep- 
ing older children at home and as a source of home interest for the 
boys. The following remarks were made time and again: "A well- 
planned yard will keep the older and teen-age children satisfied at 
home so that they can enjoy the family." "Yard furniture and cro- 
quet sets induce young people to stay at home." "Barbecue pits and 
outdoor living rooms suggest parties and cooking supper in the open, 
activities which appeal to young folks." "A place with facilities for 
games like badminton, basketball, croquet and baseball, and with 
a spotlight for night playing draws the young people and our child- 
ren and their friends find fun at home." "When the family can plan 
together how to beautify the yard, they give the boys a chance to 
contribute to the upkeep of the home and to develop a feeling that 
it belongs to them." 

The parents feel that the yard gives them a restful retreat in 
which to spend summer evenings together. Some in learning to root 
shrubbery and grow flowers have developed a pleasant avocation. 
Many of the older people have a feeling of civic responsibility as 
shown in such expressions as the following made in one way or an- 
other by one-third of the group: "A beautiful lawn, shrubs and 
flowers build morale, give personal satisfaction, add attractiveness 
to the home and furnish a beauty spot for the community to enjoy 
and be proud of." 

When asked for a human interest story, there were many inter- 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 49 

esting responses. One parent said of her yard: "It is a gathering 
place for my teen-age sons and their friends and they love to have 
parties and cook out, even in the winter. But the pleasure of our 
yard does not stop here. My married daughter borrows the yard for 
her parties and we enjoy seeing the young married group have fun. 
I entertain my church circle and club out here. My husband enjoys 
the cool restfulness in the evenings." This parent feels that the work 
done to her yard has opened up to her more avenues for family and 
community satisfactions than any one thing she has ever done. 

Satisfactions Gamed From Improvement Made in the House 

About four-fifths of the women made some kind of reply to the 
question about the effect of the improvements made to the house 
on the family members. The satisfactions mentioned include easier 
housekeeping, greater sense of economic security, aesthetic satisfac- 
tions, improved family relationships, and pride in an attractive 
house, as illustrated in such remarks as these: "Housekeeping is 
easier and the home more comfortable," "We all enjoy a clean 
house," "It gives the spirit a lift." 

Of these 111 homemakers, 44 per cent made some comment about 
family relationships, with such remarks as: adding a new screened 
porch eased some social problems ; all the family love the house and 
help take care of it; the children enjoy having their friends visit 
them, for they have pride in the home; it is not such a problem now 
to keep the family together; each child decided on the color scheme 
and work to be done in his room, and now each feels the pride of 
ownership in the home. The sheer pleasure of living in a well-kept 
home was expressed by 19 per cent with such remarks as: it is very 
vitally stimulating; we are delighted over every improvement we 
make; it is an achievement we all enjoy; even the grandchildren 
enjoy everything we do; the personal satisfaction far exceeds the 
money spent on the improvements. 

Summary and Conclusions 

From this study of 111 Shelby County families, the following 
general conclusions may be drawn: 

1. Families range in size from 1 to 12, but the most usual size is 
4 — husband, wife and 2 children. 

2. Houses range in size from 2 to 11 rooms, but more than half 
of these families live in six-room houses. 

3. Though 91 families live in homes large enough to provide one 
or more rooms per person, 14 families live in homes which do not 



50 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

have adequate space. In general the large families are not as ade- 
quately housed as the families of fewer members. 

4. Three- fourths of these families own their own homes. There 
seems to be little relation between economic status and home own- 
ership. In no economic group do less than two-thirds of the families 
own their homes. 

5. Three-fourths of the family heads in the different groups earn 
less than $3000 per year. The largest number of families are in the 
$1000 to $1999 income group. 

6. No family earns less than it did before the war; 55 per cent of 
the families have the same income in 1944 that they had in 1940, 
and 45 per cent have had increases in income in this period. Income 
increases, on the whole, have not been great, averaging about 15 
per cent for all except the farm families, whose incomes have in- 
creased much more. The increased income for the farm group is due 
both to increases in farm prices and to the fact that many farmers 
have taken war jobs in addition to their farming. 

7. Increase in income does not seem to lead to a greater amount 
of home improvement; while 84 per cent of the whole group (ill 
families) made some kind of home improvement, only 38 per cent 
of the group reporting increased income spent anything extra on 
housing. While nearly one-half of these families have more money 
to spend than they had before the war, only one-fourth of them 
have spent more than formerly on housing. 

8. The average expenditure per family for home improvements 
in the different income levels shows a gradual but small rise to- 
ward the larger income groups, but the difference between the av- 
erage amount spent in the lowest and that in the highest income 
group is only $30. 

9. The total outlay of money for improvements to the home, in- 
cluding remodeling, modernizing, repairing and beautifying the 
yard, was $14,099.78. The largest amount was spent for repairing, 
57 per cent of the total amount being used for this purpose. Re- 
modeling cost 23.6 per cent of the total amount spent; moderniz- 
ing accounted for 13.5 per cent, and yard improvement 5.7 per cent. 
The largest amount spent by any one family was $767; 8 families 
spent over $300 each, but more often the cost per family was around 
$100. The average expenditure per family was $151.61. 

10. The amount of income did affect the type of work done to 
improve the home. The lower income groups have made, and wish 
to make in the future, the types of improvements that give modern 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 51 

conveniences and make living easier, while the higher income groups 
already have these conveniences. Groups in the lower levels want to 
put in electricity, add running water and necessary fixtures to the 
bathroom and kitchen, have more storage space, more privacy for 
the family members and better out-door toilet facilities. The higher 
income groups want an extra bathroom, central heating system, in- 
sulation for the house, rewiring the house to have more outlets, a 
guest house built over the garage, a play room and hobby rooms. A 
larger percentage of the lower income groups modernized and re- 
modeled their homes and a larger percentage of the higher income 
groups repaired the homes. While only 42 per cent spent money on 
the improvement of the yard, 68 per cent specified that they did 
necessary work to keep the grounds presentable. Only one-half of 
the families attempted any organized plan of landscaping the yards. 

11. The farm families did more modernizing of their homes than 
any other group. Fifty per cent improved the sanitation and comfort 
of their homes. They did not spend more money per family than 
other groups, but more families made improvements. The minor 
business and semi-skilled group made almost as many improvements 
as the farm group, and they were similar types of improvements. 

12. Only 6 families did all 4 types of improvement. Forty-one 
per cent did 1 type; 36.5 per cent did 2 types; and 16 per cent did 
3 types of improvements. 

13. The work of home improvement was done by hired help and 
by various combinations of family members. More family help was 
used in home repairing and care of the yard, while more hired help 
was required for remodeling and modernizing the home. 

What these families seek to do is to raise their standards of living, 
to give themselves a few comforts they have always wanted, and to 
provide wholesome home life for their children. 

The types of improvements they have made show the kinds of 
things they hold worthwhile and their comments indicate that they 
have secured, in large measure, the satisfactions that they sought. 
There seems to be no dearth of ideas for better living in Shelby 
County. 

The homes, we see, provide both tangible and emotional satisfac- 
tions. Children's welfare seemed to be of prime importance in all 
housing plans. Homes were improved more often for the sake of 
family relationships than for the convenience of housework. Fellow- 
ship in the home, which teaches its members how to live with others, 
seemed to be an outstanding objective. Many women, referring to 



52 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

the work done, said that the improvements give the children pride 
in the home, that it is no trouble to keep the family at home, and 
that the children enjoy keeping the home attractive. Even the grand- 
children seemed to enjoy the improvements made. All of these re- 
sults seem to show the close relationship between the home and the 
personalities developing within it. 

Ownership of the home gives the children security. Remodeling 
the home gives more space and privacy for its members. Better hy- 
gienic measures are a contribution to health. Repairing was done not 
only to protect the house but to develop an appreciation for cleanli- 
ness, beauty and order, all of which affect personality. The mothers 
feel that a beautiful home makes the children happy and proud to 
have their friends visit them. 

The children enjoy helping in the home or caring for the ward 
after improvements are made. Respect for work is built up in child- 
ren who share in home jobs. They learn cooperation and develop 
maturity of character which is essential to adult success and happi- 
ness. A feeling of accomplishment and competency gives them great 
satisfaction. Provisions for recreation, which loosens tension and 
provides relief from strain, were mentioned numbers of times as one 
means of enriching personality. Playing together helps to socialize 
the children. Safety measures in the home, which will relieve anxiety 
and prevent injury, were recognized by parents who made repairs to 
steps, floors, chimneys, graded yards, and built fences. Sharing in 
plans for home improvement teaches children to make choices and 
helps them to discover what are the lasting pleasures and highest 
values of life. In fact, nearly every item of improvement does in 
some way affect the physical and emotional growth of the home 
members. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 53 



CHAPTER 2 



HOUSE FURNISHINGS IMPROVEMENTS IN SHELBY 
COUNTY HOMES 



The Problem 

This study was made to determine, if possible, the extent to which 
Shelby County families, during the period from December 1941 to 
August 1944 — a period in which many families in the county had 
more money to spend than formerly — were spending money and ef- 
fort on improvements in house furnishings. The investigator sought 
to answer the following questions: 

What kinds of improvements in house furnishings have been 
made in this period ? Did families whose incomes had increased dur- 
ing this period tend to make more or different kinds of improve- 
ments from those without increases in their incomes ? What reasons 
do these people give for the improvements they have made? Do the 
reasons differ for families who have had increased incomes and 
those who have not? 

Collecting the Data 

The population studied 

Data were collected during the summer of 1944 from 108 fam- 
ilies. Included in the study were families representing most of the 
occupations of the county — doctors, lawyers, public school teachers, 
college professors, merchants, bankers, cafe managers, lumbermen, 
contractors, store clerks, bookkeepers, textile workers, barbers, in- 
surance agents, farmers, federal, state, and county employees. There 
were a few families of widows and of disabled veterans. The larg- 
est groups were the farmers and the textile workers. 

Families ranged in size from 1 to 14, the most usual being 3- 
There were families in each of the main income classifications (up 
to $500; $500-$1999; $2000-$2999; $3000 or over), but the ma- 
jority of them had incomes around $2000. Sixty-seven (62 per cent) 
of the 108 families in the study had had some increase in income 
within the period; 41 (38 per cent) had had no change in income, 



54 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

and no one in the group reported a decrease in earnings since the 
war began. 

The questionnaire 

Data were secured by means of a check sheet which, in addition 
to questions about occupation, size of family, income status, and in- 
come change, had questions regarding the improvements in home 
furnishings. A preliminary study of home furnishings determined 
the items listed on the check sheet. Each room, living room, dining 
room, bedroom, kitchen, bath, porch, and the lawn were considered 
separately. All items listed received at least one check except tea 
wagons, hollow silver, bathroom stools, and porch gliders. The pre- 
liminary exploration led the investigator to believe that most home 
furnishings were bought for one of four reasons, namely: (1) to 
satisfy a long- felt desire; (2) merely to afford a welcome change; 
(3) to replace worn-out items; (4) to increase the comfort of the 
home. Frequently, homemakers improve the home through their 
own ingenuity. This factor was allowed for on the check sheet 
through questions on remodeling and repairing of old furniture 
and making slip covers or curtains. 

Presentation of the Data 

Believing that an increase in money tends to influence people to 
make purchases not essential to living, comparisons were made of 
improvements made by families who had had increased income dur- 
ing the period of the study and those who had not. These two 
groups are referred to in the following discussion as the A — "in- 
creased", and B — "non-increased" groups. 

Tables I, II, III, IV, V at the end of this chapter, pp. 60 to 66, 
show the results of the investigation and are organized so that com- 
parisons may readily be observed. 

New furniture purchased 

Very little new furniture was bought by these 108 families in the 
period between December 1941 and August 1944. (See Table I.) 
Items most commonly purchased were chairs, davenports or studio 
couches, tables, beds, mattresses and bed springs, and "suites" of 
furniture for one or the other rooms of the house. More different 
families provided extra "seating space" than any other item of fur- 
niture — 41 in all purchased either dining room or living room chairs, 
a davenport or studio couch, besides the 23 families who purchased 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 55 

a living room, dining room, or bedroom "suite." Tables were next 
in importance, 14 families having bought living room tables, and 5 
families night tables for the bedroom. Twenty-eight different fam- 
ilies bought either a mattress or set of springs or both. 

Most of these purchases were made "because additional items 
were needed." The next most important reason for making pur- 
chases of new furniture was that of "a long- felt desire" or "being 
tired of what we have"; whereas the fewest families gave as their 
reason, "replacement of worn-out furniture." 

By far the greatest number of purchases of new furniture were 
made by group A — the group whose income had increased during 
the period. 

Improving backgrounds 

The addition of such items as rugs, draperies, window curtains, 
or Venetian blinds is referred to as "improving backgrounds." (See 
Table II.) More families made this type of improvement than pur- 
chased new furniture. Practically all families did something to the 
windows, and almost half purchased a rug for one or more rooms 
of the house. 

The need for additional items and the replacement of worn-out 
items were given in about the same number of cases as reasons for 
purchases; while almost no one improved the background because 
of "being tired of old things" or having "always wanted" something. 

Just as in the case of new furniture purchased, more families 
(almost five times as many, in fact) of the increased income group 
than those of the non-increased income group made improvements. 

Bedding, household linens, dishes and silver 

More families purchased new household linens and bedding than 
any other item of house furnishings. (See Table III.) New sheets 
were purchased by 43 families; pillow cases by 29; blankets, 23; 
spreads, 28; and "covers" by 8. 

Twice a many families bought sheets and pillow cases to replace 
worn-out items as did to add to the numbers they had on hand. All 
of the homemakers bought sheets for one or the other of these two 
reasons. More than twice as many families in group A, the increased 
income group, bought sheets, as in group B, the non-increased in- 
come group. The same is true for most bedding items. 

As many as 39 families bought new table cloths, while only 16 
bought new napkins. This greater demand for table cloths is a bit 



56 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

surprising and suggests a number of possible explanations — that 
table cloths may be used more and thus wear out more quickly; 
that paper napkins, or possibly no napkins, are used to save the 
linens and the laundry. The fact that 4 of the table cloths were made 
of oilcloth, may account for some of the differences in numbers of 
table cloths and napkins purchased. Most of these table cloths (in 
25 cases) were bought to replace worn-out items, and 25 of the 39 
families buying table cloths were in the increased income group. 

Very few families purchased china, glass, or silver during this 
period. The desire to add to the numbers already on hand accounted 
for most of these purchases by the increased income group, while 
the non-increased group bought chiefly for replacements. 

Accessories 

Purchases of accessories — lamps, pictures, mirrors, vases, and the 
like (see Table IV) were made primarily because new items were 
needed, although the "long-felt desire" or being "tired of what we 
have" figured more conspicuously in this type of purchase than in 
any other, accounting for purchases of new items by 10 families. 
Of the 38 families who purchased new accessories, 31 were in the 
increased income group. 

Improvements through remodeling and repairing 

In addition to the new furniture purchased, improvements were 
made to 105 homes by repairing and remodeling (See Table V). 
In 19 homes, slip covers had been made; 8 homes had had some 
upholstery work done; 39 homes had painted furniture; 39 
homes had made draperies or curtains. (This does not include 
the ready-made curtains or draperies purchased. See page 63.) In 
the non-increased group, 7 had made slip covers, 4 had furniture 
re-upholstered, 14 had furniture painted, and 10 had made curtains 
or draperies. In the increased income group, 12 had made new slip 
covers; 4 had provided re-upholstery items; 25 had painted furni- 
ture, and 29 had made curtains or draperies. 

More families in the increased income group made slip covers 
than did those in the non-increased group. However, re-upholstery 
work was done more frequently by families in the non-increased 
income group. More painting and making of curtains was done by 
the increased income group than by the other. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 57 

Other Interesting Points Revealed by the Study 

Living rooms get most attention 

A greater variety and larger number of purchases (24 different 
items) were made for the living room than for any other room in 
the house, although families in the non-increased income group did 
much less than the others. New furniture and curtains figured most 
in these improvements, the latter chiefly as replacements. This sug- 
gests that families take most interest in their living rooms. Possibly 
fewer items were needed to make the dining rooms comfortable and 
efficient. 

Conspicuous consumption is a motive 

Why do individuals tire of home furnishings ? Because they were 
not satisfied at the time of the purchase? Because their taste has 
changed? Because they want what their neighbors own? 

Women said new purchases were made because "they were need- 
ed," but there was some evidence that the desire to have what their 
neighbors owned influenced the kind of purchases made. This in- 
fluence was more apparent in purchases for the living room than 
for other rooms, perhaps because other people see the living room. 
This explanation is suggested by remarks of local retail furniture 
dealers who say that people in certain communities and of certain 
occupational groups buy one type of furniture, while others select 
an entirely different kind. This influence is found in homes where 
a large modern bedroom suite and a heavy velour living room suite 
are crowded into one room. Such arrangements might indicate that 
individuals do not recognize the difference ii> their needs and their 
desires. Do they unconsciously hope to advertise their improved fi- 
nancial status by the ownership of furniture which gives the ap- 
pearance of being costly? There is also the possibility that the 
nouses are too small for the number, of people living in them, thus 
requiring that living rooms be used also as bedrooms. The manager 
of a furniture store whose customers come from the mining and 
rural areas stated that he has had the same volume of business since 
Pearl Harbor as before, although he cannot get wool rugs, washing 
machines, radios, or stoves. He had had one 18th Century style 
mahogany veneer bedroom suite on the floor for six months, which 
he had not been able to sell, but he had sold ten suites of gum fur- 
niture of modernistic design in that time. Both kinds of suites were 
the same price. The suite most in demand was made in a large mod- 



58 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

ernistic design with very ornate mirrors and pulls on the drawers. 
It was popularly called "Bleached maple" and cost over twice as 
much as the 18th Century mahogany veneer model. According to 
one retail merchant, some of his customers who live in old, poorly- 
built houses buy mattresses that are not tufted and without rolled 
edges, because a mattress finished in that manner affords hiding 
places for bed bugs. 

Improvements for the sake of beauty 

In improving the beauty of the home, housewives again gave 
more attention to the living room. Pictures, mirrors, vases, what- 
nots, Venetian blinds, draperies, and rugs were added to the living 
room. Only pictures, Venetian blinds, and rugs were added to the 
dining room. (See Tables II and IV.) Almost three times as many 
pictures and twice as many rugs were added to the living room as 
were added to the dining room. 

Comfort and convenience 

Some of the items purchased that contributed to the comfort and 
convenience of the home were circulating heaters, electric refrigera- 
tors, hot water tanks, and washing machines. Over 11 per cent of 
the families were able to buy electric refrigerators; some reporting 
buying second-hand ones, and others pre-Pearl Harbor models. 

More families bought pictures, mirrors, and rugs than lamps, but 
lamps were added to the living rooms in about 5 per cent of the 
homes. They may have been added to improve the appearance of 
the room, but they doubtless also improved lighting. 

Large amount of improvement made 

Some home management specialists in proposed family budgets 
allow 2 per cent of the income for house furnishings. On this basis, 
a family having a $2,000 income, which was the average for the 
group studied, would have $40 a year to spend on house furnish- 
ings. Though no attempt was made to determine the amount spent 
for the improvements reported in this study, it is apparent, prices 
being what they are, that improvements made in the homes have in 
many instances cost more than that figure. For example, an accept- 
able pair of curtains is likely to cost as least $5. The purchase of 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 59 

curtains alone (See Table II) would account for a considerable out- 
lay of money. It is rather gratifying to observe that, even during a 
war period, when items are not available or are of inferior quality 
and construction, people are interested in their homes and make 
some attempt to improve them. 

Post-War Needs 

No attempt was made to determine the plans the families have 
for additions to their homes in the post-war period, but a brief ob- 
servation of the report shows quite a pent-up demand for linens of 
all types. Only 37 per cent of the people purchased sheets; the range 
in number of these bought was from 2 to 24. Only 25 per cent of 
the homemakers purchased pillow cases; from 2 to 24 pairs were 
bought by each of them. There were 38 per cent of the families who 
bought towels; 24 per cent bought hand towels; 35 per cent bought 
bath cloths. The homes may be sufficiently supplied with these to 
last until the war is over, but as they are essentials for homemaking, 
many of these will be needed after the war. It is also possible that 
a great many sheets are made from feed sacks. One homemaker 
said she never bought sheets or pillow cases, but used feed sacks. 
She said, "They wear well for working men and growing children, 
and if you get pretty spreads for your beds, the house looks nice." 

Since only 12 per cent of the families bought mattresses, and 13 
per cent bed springs, and such items as these also need occasional 
replacements, there should be a demand for these after the war. 

Summary 

Of the total number of 108 families reporting, 93 families bought 
new furnishings for 292 different rooms. Of these, 203 rooms were 
improved by the group with increased income, an average of 3 
rooms per family; 89 rooms were improved by the group with no 
income increase, an average of about 2 rooms per family. In addi- 
tion to room improvement, 4 of the 67 families in the increased in- 
come group purchased furniture for lawns and 5 for porches, while 
1 of the 41 families in the non-increased income group purchased 
porch furniture. Many of the families who purchased new furnish- 
ings also did remodeling; 3 families with increased income did 
nothing but remodeling, while 12 of the 108 families made no im- 
provements whatsoever, 11 of these being families with no income 
increase. 



60 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



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U 




U 




.5 


<u 


co 


-C 



62 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

The 292 improved rooms were distributed among the families 
as follows: in 15 homes, purchases were made for 5 different rooms; 
in 24 homes, for 4 rooms each; 24 other homes, for 3 rooms each; 
18 homes had made purchases for 2 rooms each; and 13 for 1 room 
each. 

There was no relation between the number of rooms improved in 
a home and the number and value of purchases made. 

More families bought household textiles than other items. Curtains 
were bought for 68 rooms. As curtains and rugs may be used in 
every room in the house, this is probably what one would expect 
to find. 

The data seem to warrant the conclusion that many families 
were enabled by the increase in the family income to make needed 
improvements in home furnishings. 

The need for replacing worn-out items were the most usual rea- 
sons for making improvements in house furnishings. The greatest 
amount of interest was taken in making improvements to the living 
room. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 



63 



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£ rt 






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g £ «- 

l_ S- o 

X £.£ 

PQ 



64 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



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SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 



65 



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pQfQ 

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2 "» n P 3 

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66 



ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 



Table V. Number of Families in Groups A and B Improving Homes by 
Repairing and Remodeling Home Furnishings 



Totals 



Slip covers 

Re-upholstery work 

Furniture painted 

Made drapes or curtains. 



12 


7 


19 


4 


4 


8 


25 


14 


39 


29 


10 


39 



105 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 67 

CHAPTER 3 
SMALL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT 

Small kitchen equipment is important in the home because of its 
evident relationship to the vital problem of food preparation. Prob- 
ably no other tasks are performed with greater frequency in the 
home than those associated with feeding the family. The success of 
this undertaking helps to determine not only the health of the fam- 
ily but also some of its subtle relationships which might be grouped 
under the term "morale." 

Small kitchen equipment has importance in the satisfaction it 
gives its user. Individuals may achieve happiness through creative 
activity. Even routine tasks have possibilities for creative expression 
if emphasis is placed on the processes of doing, that is, the methods 
and means of performing the job. Just as a craftsman derives pleas- 
ure from the manipulation and care of his tools, so may a housewife 
enjoy her cooking utensils. The importance of small kitchen equip- 
ment has been further enhanced by many studies indicating that the 
use of proper tools in meal preparation results in great savings of 
time and energy. 

While there have been numerous studies as to the kind of equip- 
ment which would be desirable for the homemaker, there have been 
few surveys to show the kind and amount of equipment actually 
used by homemakers. We do not know to what extent recommenda- 
tions of home economists are used nor do we know what practices 
of the homemaker differ from laboratory findings. It appears that 
kitchen utensils have failed to receive the attention which has been 
accorded other labor-saving devices. 

Purpose of Survey 

It is evident that the war has affected our supply of small kitchen 
equipment. One of the first indications of a decrease in civilian sup- 
plies in Shelby County was the disappearance of aluminum and 
other metal cooking utensils from the stores. Later a variety of 
enamel, glass, plastic, and wooden utensils appeared. Many of these 
were entirely new to the local homemakers, and their potentialities 
were generally not known. The present survey was made in an at- 
tempt to answer three questions: What equipment did homemakers 
own at the time of the study? How satisfactory was recently pur- 
chased equipment? What plans were housewives making for pur- 
chasing equipment after the war? 



68 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

Collecting information 

One hundred and twenty-three housewives assisted in this survey. 
Information was obtained from 56 farm families, 51 town families, 
and 16 families who are clients of the Farm Security Administra- 
tion. A check list of utensils was adapted from several lists of equip- 
ment recommended for all types of homes. The equipment was 
grouped according to use: utensils for top-of -stove cooking, those 
used for oven cooking, those needed in the preparation of food, 
and cutlery. Housewives were asked to list the materials from which 
the utensils were made and to indicate whether they were purchased 
before or since the war began. Spaces were provided for housewives 
to register equipment which they owned but which was not listed. 

The table found at the end of this chapter tabulates the total 
number of utensils found in 123 homes. It does not show the wide 
variation in the equipment of individual families. For the most part, 
Farm Security clients had fewer pieces than the families in the town 
and farm groups. The families in the town and farm groups were 
strikingly alike in the number and kind of utensils found in their 
homes. In the following descriptions of equipment found in these 
groups, the term average refers to the arithmetical average for the 
group. 

Top-of-stove cooking 

In many homes the largest portion of the cooking takes place on 
top of the stove. The average number of pieces of top-of-the-stove 
equipment in the farm homes was 13 with a range of 5 to 30. A 
ten-inch iron skillet, a two-quart saucepan, usually of enamel, and 
a coffeepot were found in every home. 

With the town group, the range in the number of pieces for cook- 
ing on top of the stove was from 2 to 26 with an average of 12 
pieces per family. Two-thirds of the families had double boilers and 
almost one-half had teapots. Iron skillets were again the most fre- 
quently found pieces of equipment. One-quart and two-quart sauce- 
pans were found in an equal number of homes. Aluminum pans 
were more popular than enameled ones. The family which had only 
two pieces of equipment owned a saucepan and a skillet. 

The range of equipment for the Farm Security families was 3 to 
14 pieces with an average of 7. They had more skillets than other 
utensils. They owned 35 skillets. This was a sufficient number to 
make an average of over 2 for each family, while the number of 
saucepans, kettles, and double boilers averaged only 1 per family. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 69 

Three-fourths of the families had coffeemakers, but only one fam- 
ily had a teapot. 

Oven cooking 

Since the oven is used for many different purposes, there was a 
wide variety of utensils included in this group, but the total number 
was approximately the same as that found for top-of-the-stove 
cooking., The range in the number of pieces of the farm group was 
from 1 to 34 with an average of 11. The family which had only 1 
utensil owned a bread pan. Tin pie pans were the utensils owned by 
the largest group of people. About three-fourths of the families had 
cake pans, baking pans, or bread pans. The most popular shape for 
the cake pan was round with relatively few oblong or square shapes. 
Two-thirds of the families had muffin pans, usually of tin. Three- 
fifths had casseroles and roasters. The casseroles were most often 
glass, and the roasters were most often made of enamel. 

One family living in town had only 2 oven utensils; another fam- 
ily had 33, but the average was 12 for the group. A few more cus- 
tard cups and casseroles were found in this group than in the farm 
group There were, however, a smaller number of bread and bak- 
ing pans listed. Pie pans and cake pans averaged over one to a fam- 
ily, but only 90 per cent of the families had pie tins and 85 per cent 
had cake tins. 

The number of oven cooking utensils for the Farm Security clients 
ranged from 3 to 13 with an average of 8. Four- fifths of them had 
pie tins, muffin pans, cake tins, and either* a baking pan or a bread 
pan. One-third of the group had casseroles. 

Utensils used in preparation 

There were wider differences in the number of utensils used in 
the preparation of food than in any other group. The range for the 
farm group was 9 to 52 pieces with an average of 23. Ninety- five 
per cent of these homes had mixing bowls. Two- and three-quart 
earthen bowls were the most popular kind. All had salt and pepper 
shakers, most of them having more than one set. Likewise can 
openers and scissors were found in all of the homes. Ninety per cent 
had flour sifters. Most of the equipment listed was found in 50 to 
75 per cent of the homes. However, only one-sixth had blenders, 
cooling racks, and sets of four measuring cups. One-tenth had ther- 
mometers. One-fifth had ladles and only 2 homes had nut choppers 
and tea balls. 



70 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

Many tools on the market which have specialized functions in 
food preparation were not included in the list. The town group lists 
31 of these, such as cookie presses, egg slicers, etc. The number of 
pieces found in town homes ranged from 2 to 75 with an average 
of 29 pieces per family. Every home had a can opener, and some 
homes had more than one. They usually were the hand kind, al- 
though the wall variety was found in one-fourth of these homes. 
The next most frequently found equipment were sifters, rolling 
pins, and biscuit cutters. Most of the equipment listed was found in 
one-half to three-fourths of the homes. However, pressure cookers, 
ice cream freezers, and molds were found in only a third of the 
homes. About one- sixth of the homes had blenders, rubber spatulas, 
thermometers, nut crackers, and tea balls. About one-fifth or more 
had cake coolers and sink strainers. Ten per cent had cream dippers 
and butter cutters. All but the lowest income group had strainers; 
the three-inch size was the most popular. Rotary beaters were found 
twice as often as were wire whisks. The urban group had twice as 
many molds as the farm group, while the farm group had more ice 
cream freezers. 

The range of equipment owned by the Farm Security clients for 
meal preparation was from 3 to 24 pieces with an average of 14. 
Mixing bowls and flour sifters were found in all homes. All but 
one family had a pressure cooker. A combination grater and shred- 
der was found in most homes. Fifty per cent of the families had ice 
cream freezers, rolling pins, rotary beaters, tea kettles, and can 
openers. Sink strainers, wall can openers, nut crackers, cream dip- 
pers, cooling racks, molds, and blenders were not found in these 
homes. 

Cutlery 

It has been estimated that a housewife uses a knife 130 times per 
day. Probably no other kitchen piece excels the knife in usability. 
The range in the number of pieces of cutlery owned by the farm 
group was 2 to 45 with an average of 17 pieces. Many families had 
2 or 3 paring knives, but one-tenth of the group did not have a 
knife with a blade shorter than ten inches. Almost all had table- 
spoons and teaspoons for cooking. Two-thirds of the families had 
measuring spoons. Seventy-five per cent had long forks; but less 
than one-third had apple corers, spatulas, potato peelers, and grape- 
fruit knives. 

Every town family had a paring knife. Seventy-five per cent had 
long forks and measuring spoons. All had some kind of kitchen 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 71 

knives and forks, but one-tenth of the families had no knife with a 
blade smaller than eight inches, although many families had two or 
three small ones. Forty per cent had large spoons, either wooden or 
metal. The range of the number of pieces owned by individual fam- 
ilies was from 2 to 45 with an average of 24. About two-thirds of 
the families had measuring spoon sets while only one-fourth had 
spatulas. 

Relation of size of family to number of utensils owned 

The number of individuals found in each of the families studied 
varied from 2 to 12, but families of 4 members were most frequently 
found. Several of the homemakers had all the equipment listed but 
did not always have all sizes of mixing bowls and casseroles. But, 
on the other hand, they often had more than one of some of the 
utensils. There was no relationship between the number and kind 
of cooking utensils owned and the size of the family. The largest 
collections of cooking utensils were sometimes found in a small 
family group. The housewife with the largest number of pieces 
cooked for a family of three. She was the wife of a businessman 
and had two kitchens in her home; one was used for meal prepara- 
tion and the other for special jobs such as food preparation, sausage 
making, and special baking. The family having the smallest num- 
ber was also a town family of three, which owned one iron kettle, 
one enameled pan, one skillet, one coffeemaker, one baking pan, 
one flour sifter, one can opener, a pair of scissors, two paring 
knives, an eight-inch knife, two case knives and forks, and an eigh- 
teen-inch fork. 

Desirability of new materials ! 

A very small percentage of equipment found in this survey has 
been purchased since the war. About 98 per cent was of pre-war 
origin. Therefore, the housewives' experience with plastic and other 
substitute materials was limited to very few pieces. Among the com- 
plaints offered were that plastic spoons, graters, etc., would not 
stand hot water, and that ceramic ware was slow and cumbersome 
for cooking. They thought that glass has many desirable features 
such as cleanliness and visibility of product, but breakage was high 
from various causes. Several complained that recently purchased 
enamel ware chipped readily. 

Prospective purchases 

As to prospective purchases after the war, the majority of the 
housewives were satisfied with their present equipment and were 



72 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

not contemplating many purchases after the end of the war. A few 
women indicated that they would buy additional aluminum uten- 
sils when the war is over. One woman stated that she would like an 
"all-glass" kitchen. Kitchen equipment appears to be durable and 
not subject to the whims of sales appeal, which influence many other 
household purchases. 



Typical equipment 

After the equipment which occurred most frequently had been 
counted, it was assumed that typical equipment of the housewife in 
Shelby County, regardless of the size of her family or of her hus- 
band's occupation, would probably be as follows: 

Top of stove: Four saucepans — 1-quart, 2-quart, 3-quart, and 4-quart 
sizes; a 4-quart kettle; 2 pans— a 1-pint and a 3-pint; a 2^2-quart double 
boiler; and 2 skillets — 8 and 10 inches in size; a 6-cup coffeemaker; and a 
teapot. 

Oven cooking: A 2-quart casserole; 3 custard cups; a 12-inch baking sheet; 
a muffin pan; a round cake pan, size 9 inches in diameter; a bread pan; a 
baking pan, size 12 by 16 inches; a pie pan; and a roaster 16 inches long. 

Preparation: Three mixing bowls — a 1-pint, a 2-quart, and a 4-quart ; a 
1-cup measure; a 1-quart sifter; a 12-inch rolling pin; a 1^-inch biscuit cut- 
ter; a rotary beater; 2 molds; a hand can opener; a bottle opener; a 3-inch 
strainer; a combination grater and shredder; a masher; 2 salt shakers; 2 pep- 
per shakers; scissors; and a pan for preparing vegetables. 

Cutlery: Three paring knives with a 2j^-inch blade, 4 or 5-inch blade, and 
an 8-inch blade; a carving knife; 4 case knives and 4 case forks; and 3 tea- 
spoons and 3 tablespoons for cooking. 

Implications of the survey 

The findings of the survey suggest the following implications 
for home economists and homemakers: 

1. Considering the wide variation in number and types of kitchen utensils 
found in Shelby County homes, it appears that home economists might 
well devote some time and energy to a study of basic needs. 

2. At present the best guide for selection would be based on those utensils 
which are required to prepare, cook, and serve the menus most commonly 
prepared in the homes. This plan gives consideration to differences which 
may arise in size of families, their interests, and their social activities. 

3. The experiences of homemakers on the job may be suggestive to teach- 
ers and other homemakers in checking the adequacy of prospective pur- 
chases or of a supply already on hand. 

4. Home economists have a responsibility for working with manufacturers 
and consumers to determine and plan for new types of equipment and 
improvements. 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 



73 



Utensils Used for Cooking on Top of Stove 



Utensils Farm 

Saucepans : 

1 qt 69 

2 qt — 79 

3 qt. (with dipping basket) 15 

3 qt. (deep) 34 

4 qt.— 33 

Other size saucepans 

Kettles : 

A qt 38 

6 qt 19 

6 qt. (with steamer inset) 11 

Other size kettles 3 

Pans : 

1 pt 24 

3 qt 54 

Other size pans 10 

Double boilers : 

2y 2 qt 39 

4 qt - 15 

Other size double boilers 1 

Skillets : 

10 in. diameter 81 

8 in. diameter 65 

Other size skillets 11 

Cof feemakers : 

10 cup 20 

6 cup 40 

Other size coffeemakers , 10 

Teapot . 37 

Other utensils 12 



Farm Security 



Town 



11 


74 


16 


58 




16 


11 


23 


3 


30 




1 


2 


37 


2 


19 




13 




4 


6 


40 


6 


35 




4 


3 


36 




9 




4 


16 


72 


18 


58 


5 


18 


1 


14 


8 


34 


3 


10 


1 


29 




14 



Utensils Used for Oven Cooking 



Utensils Fanr 

Casserole : 

2 qt 34 

\y 2 qt 20 

Custard cups 131 

Baking sheets : 

12 in 36 

16 in 15 

Muffin pans, 8 small or medium cups— 66 

Other muffin pans 8 

Cake pans : 

Round, 9 in. diameter 66 

Square, 9 in. x 9 in 11 

Oblong, S l / 2 in. x 3y 2 in 11 

Bread pans, single loaf 41 

Pie pans, 9 in. diameter 93 

Baking pan, 12 in. x 16 in 34 

Roaster, 16 in. long 34 

Other utensils 10 

Other cake pans 

Other roaster pans 4 



Farm Security 



Town 



1 


37 


3 


27 


7 


149 


8 


35 


5 


20 


7 


59 


3 


2 


9 


72 


3 


19 


3 


18 


8 


31 


22 


75 


8 


27 




30 


4 


14 


5 




1 


5 



74 ALABAMA COLLEGE BULLETIN 

Utensils Used in the Preparation of Food 

Utensils Farm Farm Security Town 

Mixing Bowi : 

1 pt 34 

\y 2 qt 14 

1 qt 28 

2 qt 36 

3 qt 28 

4 qt 26 

7 qt 6 

Wooden chopping bowl 12 

1 cup measure 35 

Set of four measuring cups 9 

1 qt. measure 12 

1 qt. sifter 51 

Blender 10 

12 in. rolling pin 42 

\y 2 in. biscuit cutter 27 

2^4 in. biscuit cutter . 13 

Cooling racks, 11 in. x 11 in 11 

Rotary beater 45 

Small beater 11 

Wire whisk 17 

Rubber spatula 7 

Molds 43 

Food grinder 28 

Ladle 11 

Tea ball 2 

Nutcracker 26 

Nut chopper 2 

Thermometer 55 

Pressure cooker 26 

Ice cream freezer 22 

Tea kettle 33 

Hand can opener 61 

Wall can opener 10 

Juice extractor 29 

Bottle opener 35 

3 in. strainer 25 

6 in. strainer 20 

12 in. colander 26 

6 in. sieve with roller 6 

Combination grater 

and shredder 37 

Masher 42 

Salt shaker 101 

Pepper shaker 90 

Butter cutter 20 

Scissors 67 

Cream dipper 7 

Pan for preparing vegetables 52 

Sink strainer 7 

Other utensils 4 





33 


1 


15 


3 


29 


5 


35 


6 


21 


1 


29 




4 


3 


12 


8 


39 


1 


11 


1 


12 


16 


44 




10 


11 


45 


6 


34 


1 


13 




13 


11 


46 




8 


5 


21 


1 


8 




92 


6 


28 




15 


1 


9 


3 


28 




4 


1 


9 


15 


18 


7 


14 


10 


24 


11 


65 




13 


1 


32 


6 


41 


1 


27 


4 


20 


3 


23 




11 


10 


42 


3 


41 


14 


80 


14 


79 




21 


19 


62 




5 


3 


48 




11 


8 


31 



SHELBY COUNTY IN WARTIME 



75 



Cutlery 



Utensils Farm 

Knives : 

2y 2 in. blade paring knife 55 

Slicing knife 

4 in. to 5 in. blade 46 

8 in. blade 17 

8 in. blade chopping knife 11 

7 in. blade utility knife 13 

Carving knife 20 

Grapefruit knife 4 

Apple parer and corer 16 

Potato parer 8 

Case knives 158 

Case forks 172 

10 in. fork 32 

18 in. fork 29 

Teaspoons for cooking 140 

Tablespoons for cooking 118 

Measuring spoon sets 37 

Metal periorated spoon, 12 in. long 19 

14 in. metal solid bowl spoon 11 

10 in. wooden spoon 20 

14 in. wooden spoon 8 

4 in. spatula 8 

14 in. turner 20 

Other utensils 2 



Farm Security 



Town 



10 


64 


2 


40 




22 




12 


17 


17 


1 


23 




7 


1 


19 




14 


34 


223 


25 


235 


2 


21 




30 


11 


186 


8 


160 


10 


36 




18 


4 


10 


2 


21 




8 


1 


12 


4 


31 


1 


13 



?%/-*