|James D. Johnson
January 31, 1932. Iowa Farm Woman Speaks Up.
In January 1932 Mrs. Miriam Pyle Johnson contributed an article to the Des Moines Sunday Daily Register, the most widely read and the most widely quoted article that ever came from the pen of any resident of Iowa Falls. It was illustrated and consisted of six columns, carrying a banner head across the page. The story was devoted to farm conditions down in the bottom of the great depression.
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in the better days of the 1920’s had bought the old Buttolph farm down the river. They erected a new and modern house and other buildings and created a water supply from a large tank and windmill on top of a high hill. It was an ideal woodland home, with woods, waters, meadows, and farm lands.
When the financial debacle came in the early 1930’s, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson lost their home and their lands and under such stress and strain Mrs. Johnson wrote her article for the daily press and talked over the radio. Mrs. Johnson’s maiden name was Miriam Pyle and she was the daughter of Geo. C. Pyle. She attended Penn college, was a graduate (masters) of Bryn Mawr, taught in Ellsworth college, and at one time wrote a weekly farm page for the Hardin County Citizen.
The article in the Register brought many letters from the mid west, from the far west, and from New England. In presenting some of these letters in the Hardin County Citizen, I said: “Mrs. Warren Johnson’s article on farm conditions in the Register is being read and quoted throughout the United States. The forum page of the Register is filled with comment. Mrs. Johnson has been receiving many letters my mail. Her article is the most honest, most sincere and heartfelt, and the best presentation of farm conditions that has been presented anywhere or at any time. It is a tragic and pathetic story that should melt the heart of the most hardened sinner.”
Miriam Johnson was the first woman to run for Iowa secretary of agriculture.