Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Harl Dalstrom
Since Nebraska is primarily an agricultural state, the struggle to bring electricity to its rural areas played an important role in the long-standing battle to decrease the disparity between living standards in rural and urban America. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, telephones and automobiles lessened rural isolation while increased utilization of tractors and other technological innovations rendered farm labor less tedious. Nevertheless, without electricity, the one modern innovation that more than any other brought comfort and convenience within the reach of the urban masses, living and working conditions on the farm remained comparatively primitive. Farm families performed backbreaking drudgery as had their forebearers for centuries without aid from electrical conveniences. Modern bathrooms were rare on farms not equiped with electric water pumps. Candles, lantern or gas lamps provided inadequate and dangerous lighting in houses and barns while only the moon illuminated country lanes and yards.
Barndt, Roberta K., "Nebraska and rural electrification through 1940" (1976). Student Work. 1160.
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