Nellie Sommers

It was the height of the Great Depression and times were particularly hard for women who were the head of a household.  Women were often the first to be laid off and they risked public scorn or worse if they took jobs or assistance, because it was viewed as taking something away from men.  Thus, the iconic images of breadlines from this period, seldom show women.  Women would rather pass out from hunger and fatigue than risk the consequences. Nellie Sommers was a recently widowed mother of two boys, who could not find a job despite her master’s degree in education.  When she was finally offered a teaching position in a remote desert mining town near Route 66 in California called Chubbuck, she took it and moved there with her two children. Despite the privations and other challenges of a one-room school house, Nellie instilled a love of learning in many of her students!  



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