I’m reading a book of letters written by a Wyoming homesteader. The Ladies Aid societies in England would condescend to visit their poorer neighbors and perhaps do something for them. But in the American West, the Ladies Aid clubs helped each other because they were perpetually stuck in hard times. In this excerpt, Mrs. Hendricks writes her mother in Indiana. You can see that she goes from skeptical to desiring this service for herself!
Yes, in 1915 for 75 cents you could get all this:
We had a right good Aid meeting at Adkins. Meeting after next we are to have an all-day meeting and sew for Mrs. Brown. I was surprised and shocked when I heard what the charge was… the Aid charges seventy-five cents for an all-day’s work… at least six women must come to sew for the seventy-five cents… Fancy getting the work of six and maybe ten or twelve women all day for seventy-five cents. For instance, Mrs. Buch had the Powell Aid work for her. Her house is large so there was room to have a large cutting table all the time. Well, they made nightgowns for the whole family of five, did a lot of mending, and lengthened the hems in half a dozen or more of the girl’s dresses — all for 75 cents! If I had a lot of simple sewing to do, I’d have the Aid do it…. plain sewing, such as most underwear, or hemming towels, or mending socks and such, they could do all right. Making aprons would be all right too.
Cecilia Hennel Hendricks wrote over 1,000 letters during her homesteading years, and the book (title and link below) was compiled by her daughter. The letters keep you entertained, and it’s a great winter read to make us grateful for modern conveniences, not the least of which is the sewing machine.