History for Lunch: Peace as a Farm Women’s Issue: The Rhetoric of Ruth Buxton Sayre

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Indianola native and Simpson College graduate Ruth Buxton Sayre (1896-1980) linked Iowa farm life with international issues, a connection she saw as essential for peace and diplomacy. Sayre traveled to Iraq, Iran, and beyond and published her findings in Farm Journal and other venues. She urged Iowa’s “farm wives” to read UN resolutions and other documents that situated them as citizens of the world. While studying transnational linkages and international networks may seem like a 21st-century phenomenon, writers and speakers like Sayre offer a glimpse into historical contexts of crossing borders and engaging both rural women and agricultural leaders. Based on Sayre’s papers held at the State Historical Society, this presentation analyzes Sayre’s rhetorical strategies and persuasive power.


Abby M. Dubisar is an assistant professor of English at Iowa State University, where she teaches rhetoric classes to undergraduates as well as graduate students in the Rhetoric and Professional Communication program. Her most recent research projects focus on how dynamic online spaces like YouTube provide both opportunities as well as constraints for women activists and the gendered implications of current trends in writing about food politics and sustainability. In 2010 she earned her doctorate in English, with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition, from Miami University-Ohio. Her dissertation analyzed the rhetorical strategies of women peace activists from 1914 to the present. She earned her MA in English from Ohio State University and her BA in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.