Linking Rural Women Transnationally: Iowa’s “First Lady of the Farm” and Post WWII Ethos

Abby M. Dubisar

This essay expands understanding of situated and invented ethos by analyzing the archival writings of Ruth Buxton Sayre (1896-1980), known as “First Lady of the Farm.” Rhetorical analysis of post-WWII writings by Sayre, as well as archival photographs and publications about Sayre, position Sayre as a model for constructing negotiated ethos and accessing authority through multiple roles. Ultimately, this essay argues that Sayre had to redefine the accepted characterization of women on farms not only to propel her own pursuits as a rhetor, but also to convince farm women of their responsibilities for postwar reconstruction, positioning them as global citizens.


Keywords: archival research, Ruth Buxton Sayre, peace, rural women, rural rhetoric, post-world war II, farm, Iowa, midwest, women’s history, Farm Bureau, Associated Country Women of the World

Dubisar, Abby M. "Linking Rural Women Transnationally: Iowa’s 'First Lady of the Farm' and Post WWII Ethos." Peitho 19.1 (2016): 128-149.