What is it about?

Discover how and why reformer Luna Kellie, the only woman elected to a state officer position in the Nebraska Farmers' Alliance, conducted a grass-roots reform campaign from her farm near Hartwell, Nebraska (1894-1901). She installed a printing press in her farmhouse, printing and distributing the Prairie Home from there. Her goal was to promote the comprehensive finance, land, and transportation reforms specified in the People's Party's 1892 Omaha Platform. Her goal was to create a more just society for farmers and laborers. But just as she sharpened and matured her leadership efforts, Populism as a political movement was torn apart by internal divisions as well as by external factors. This article analyzes Kellie’s worldview and how she put it into practice. It focuses on the gendered dimensions of her work and legacy while also emphasizing her ideological connections with other Great Plains Populist reformers such as Kansas Populist Senator William Peffer.

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Why is it important?

A better understanding of Luna Kellie's worldview adds to our understanding of women's participation and leadership within the Populist reform movement of the 1880s and 1890s. This article utilizes previously untapped primary sources of her newspaper content to fully explore her ideology. It is also a case study in how a reformer dealt with her opposition and the demise of her movement.

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This page is a summary of: Justice, Not Charity: Luna Kellie and Great Plains Populist Reform, 1890–1901, Great Plains Quarterly, January 2020, Project Muse,
DOI: 10.1353/gpq.2020.0033.
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