By: Carolyn O’Bagy Davis
Fannie Springer Schumacher of Mitchell, Nebraska, helped organize the Busy Bee Club in1920. The club’s goals included moral improvement and sharing information, but the primary activity of the twice-monthly meetings was stitching quilts (most often in Fannie’s roomy
Nearly seven decades of club minutes are still in existence. Analysis of these extensive records provided valuable insights into the role of rural women’s clubs of the early twentieth century. The detailed records allow the Busy Bees to serve as a representative case study for the numerous quilting and social clubs that remain undocumented. Clubs such as the Busy Bees provided education, recognition, and companionship for their members. The clubs also served as a vehicle for performing charitable activities within the local community, as well as directing rural women’s response to national events such as the Depression and World War II.