Public History

Her Legacy: Eva McCall Hamilton, Centennial Senator

A Hundred Years Ago, Eva McCall Hamilton became the first woman to sit in the Michigan Senate. It took another hundred years for Grand Rapids to send a woman to the Michigan Senate. Check out this short column on her work. I hope to pursue Hamilton’s work in local civics in the future. Special thanks to Jo Ellyn Clary for here support in getting this out in a timely fashion.

CORRECTION: I stated in this article that Hamilton attended Ferris Institute. After deeper inquiry I realized this may not be correct. The source I based this on was for another woman named Eva Hamilton who was registered for war work in 1917. This information came from a wonderful digital collection of these cards found on the Grand Rapids Public Library website here

by Jayson Otto for the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council| Illustrations by Kim Nguyen

Her Legacy: Emily Chamberlin, Municipal Housekeeper, December 2019

Emily Chamberlin was active in starting the farmers markets in Grand Rapids. Here is a short article on her civic work from the November issue of Women’s Lifestyle Magazine.

by Jayson Otto for the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council| Illustrations by Libby VanderPloeg

Fresh Air, Thrift, Exercise, and Innocent Delight, January 2019

Grand Rapids Public Schools had a robust gardening program in the first two decades of the 20th Century. This talk was given at the Grand Rapids Public Library in 2019 and explores the women and men who made this possible and some of the proposed benefits of gardening for school children. Unfortunately, my Power Point images were corrupted on their way from my office to the library so bear with me…

Academic Publications

Otto, Jayson, “Municipal Housekeepers: The Establishment of Gardening Programs and Farmers Markets by Grand Rapids Women’s Clubs in the Early Twentieth Century.” In Cities of Farmers: Problems, Possibilities and Processes of Producing Food in Cities. edited by Alfonso Morales and Julie Dawson, 21-38. 2017 Iowa City, IA, University of Iowa Press.

This chapter is a distillation of my Master’s thesis written while studying ecological food and farming systems in the Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resources program at MSU. I plan to expand this work across Michigan and investigate the roles of urban agriculture and public retail farmers markets as public services during the Progressive Era

Book Reviews

Review of Bryan L. McDonald, Food Power: The Rise and Fall of the Postwar American Food System, by Jayson Otto, Agricultural History, 93. no. 2: 381-383.

Review of Amy Trubek, The Taste of Place: A Cultural Journey into Terroir, by Jayson Otto and Stacia Falat, Journal of Rural Social Sciences 25, no. 2: 186-188.