At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the Electric Utility Industry sponsored a one-acre working model called the Electrified Farm. Facing increasing competition from the New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration, the farm’s corporate sponsors used the exhibit to advocate a new, electrified rural lifestyle enabled by private power and industry. Sarah Rovang demonstrates that the eight buildings of the Electrified Farm, designed by the firm of Harrison & Fouilhoux, evinced a cohesive modern aesthetic that stylistically echoed the modernity of the exhibit’s electrical lighting, appliances, and farm equipment. At the exhibit, electricity rendered farm work and domestic labor more efficient and professional, but it did not fundamentally disrupt entrenched ideals of the family farm. Contextualizing the farm’s architecture within contemporary stylistic and cultural trends, Envisioning the Future of Modern Farming: The Electrified Farm at the 1939 New York World’s Fair reveals the sponsors’ multiple and ultimately incompatible ambitions for the future of American agriculture, highlighting in particular the problematic implications of the Electrified Farm for gender relations and farm labor.
Envisioning the Future of Modern Farming: The Electrified Farm at the 1939 New York World’s Fair
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Sarah Rovang; Envisioning the Future of Modern Farming: The Electrified Farm at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 June 2015; 74 (2): 201–222. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2015.74.2.201
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