Early Kansas Home Canning Research Project

Katie Goerl, Chapman Center Intern for fall, 2011, with early home canning equipment.

Jars of canned green beans and apple butter pictured here were found on cellar shelves in Pottatwatomie County, dating probably from the late 1940s.

According to intern research, the first zinc canning lids were devised around the Civil War era; the familiar screw-top lids were invented in 1915. Katie is investigating the phenomenon of community canning days, outdoor events in which residents and extended families worked to put up substantial canned goods in the late summer. These canning clubs were prevalent in rural Kansas before World War II. Her project, “Neighborhood Canning in Rural Kansas: Preserving Family and Community in the Early 20th Century,” is one of four intern studies on food institutions in Riley, Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee, and Clay Counties. These will be the final inclusions in Chapman Center’s food-ways book, Filling the Larder, Feeding Our Families. A joint project with Professor Jane Marshall’s food writing classes in the College of Human Ecology, Filling the Larder is the product of a two year grant from the Center for Engagement and Community Development. Research will conclude this December. We hope to announce the book release sometime in early 2012.

Katie is a senior majoring in Women’s Studies. Her internship will also include an in-depth project on female teachers in one room schools of Wabaunsee and Pottawatomie Counties. She will be conducting interviews with former teachers and also working with student records in Wabaunsee County. Her focus is on the psychological and emotional landscape of teaching in isolated rural schools.

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