If A Woman Is Going To Stay Home, She Should Work

A 1920 Modern Woman’s Work From Home Viewpoint

Mrs. Marie Criger’s comments about what married women should do while at home made headlines in 1920.

100 years later, many would certainly agree with Marie Criger’s views on marriage and work.

Says Women Should Stay Home and Work

Kansas City, MO –  Attention husbands! Listen to what Mrs. Marie Criger of Fairbury, Nebraska says:

“A woman’s place may be in the home – but that’s no reason why she should loaf there.”

Mrs. Criger doesn’t. She cooks three meals a day for her husband, janitor of the Jefferson County court house, and she holds down the job of deputy sheriff besides. She weighs 225 pounds, has no children, drives an automobile and is a crack shot with a rifle or revolver. (Arizona Republican March 31, 1920)

This short article that ran in newspapers across the country was excerpted from a longer article soon after Marie Criger was appointed deputy sheriff on September 16, 1919 by Sheriff Frank M. Tippin. She was the first woman to become a deputy sheriff in the state.

“Women are going into business and into factories and mills so why not into law enforcement and the pursuit of criminals?” Marie believed.

Ahead of Her Time

A genealogical search turned up some basic information on Marie Criger. She was born Marie Lewis to James and Amelia Lewis in Colorado on June 29, 1889. The family moved to Fairbury, Nebraska when Marie was three-years-old. Marie married Joseph Criger in 1911.

Omaha Daily News 1919 Marie Criger

Marie Criger profile piece 1919

In the original profile in The Omaha Daily News, which ran November 23, 1919, the five foot seven Mrs. Criger declared that her 225 pounds is not fat, “It’s solid flesh and muscle. I keep myself in condition and if I went after a prisoner I believe I would bring him in.”

As far as women staying at home to just be a housewife, Marie said, “If her home duties don’t take up all her time, she ought to get out and do something else.”

“I don’t believe in the idea of a husband as being the only bread winner in the family,” she said. “I was accustomed to making my own money before I was married, and I feel a little more independent by being able to earn a little to help along, especially during these times, when everything is so high.”

The never idle Marie did eventually find time in 1922 to conceive a daughter, Mary Ruth. The well-fed three meals-a-day Joseph Criger died September 10, 1928 at the age of 48. Marie remained in Fairbury, working and raising her daughter alone while being involved in civic organizations.

On August 6, 1931 in Boulder CO, Marie married her former boss, Sheriff Frank M. Tippin. The couple moved to Brea, California and Frank Tippin died less than a year later on March 10, 1932.

Marie Criger Tippin stayed on in Orange County, CA where she died on May 17, 1955. Marie was buried beside Frank Tippin.

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