Montana State University

Distinguished Professor to give Feb. 25 lecture on food, gender and domestic politics of WW I

February 4, 2014 -- MSU News Service

Mary Murphy was recently named Letters and Science Distinguished Professor at Montana State University and will give her inaugural address on Feb. 25. (MSU photo by Kelly Gorham).    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- Mary Murphy, who was recently named Letters and Science Distinguished Professor at Montana State University, will give her inaugural lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Procrastinator Theater in the Strand Union Building on the MSU campus.

Her free lecture, "Can the Kaiser: Food, Gender and the Domestic Politics of World War I," will be followed by a reception in the Leigh Lounge hosted by the College of Letters and Science. The public is welcome.

Murphy will discuss campaigns such as Meatless Mondays, Wheatless Wednesdays, Sweets without Sugar, which in 1917 were all weapons designed for the World War I home front. "Food will win the war," proclaimed the U.S. Food Administration, and it urged farmers to grow more, consumers to eat less and patriots to monitor their fellow citizens’ consumption. Montana women joined the campaign with enthusiasm, but also skepticism. Having recently won the right to vote, they brought keen political insight to the domestic politics of the home front. Their gleaming Mason jars of preserved vegetables took on many meanings during World War I.

Murphy is known for her engaging history books focusing on gender in Montana. She has published 10 books and book chapters, including "Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942," which won the Montana Book Award in 2003. Her "Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914-41," received the 1998 Barbara Sudler Award from the Colorado Historical Society and was a Choice Outstanding Academic Book in 1997.

Murphy is currently researching the historic role of food in the American West, as a way of tracing the history of women in the region. She is also collaborating on a Montana cookbook that will combine essays about food and cooking in Montana with recipes drawn from historical cookbooks. 

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or