Before Dear Abby Was Dear Nellie
Nellie Kedzie Jones was a nationally recognized pioneer in home economics who brought down-to-earth and good-humored advice to rural farm women through her columns in The Country Gentleman from 1912 to 1918. Jones knew of what she spoke - she and her husband ran a farm in Marathon County, Wisconsin.
Jones wrote a particularly vivid series of advice columns in the form of letters to an imaginary young niece named Janet from her “Aunt Nellie.” Young Janet, with her husband Ben, had supposedly just moved to an old farmhouse from the city and desperately needed advice on how to handle the overwhelming work burden. Jones’s basic message was that a farm wife must be efficient and spare herself in any small ways she could so that she did not change into an overworked piece of farm equipment.
via: Nellie Kedzie Jones, “Advice to Farm Women,” Turning Points in Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Historical Society