The January 30, 1941 issue of the Bossier Banner announced that Bossier Parish was doing its share in the state-wide mattress-making project.
“In connection with a state-wide mattress making program, Home Agent Lettie VanLandingham reported this morning that Bossier Parish has opened three centers so far. The first was in the Caney community, where 67 mattresses were made. In the Linton community 344 mattresses were finished before the project closed. Work is now being done at the Plain Dealing center, where 332 had been made through Thursday of this week. The total to date is 753 mattresses, she reports.”
“John J. Doles, chairman of the AAA state committee has announced that 6,882,000 pounds of surplus cotton would be ordered during the first five months of 1941, to assure continued operation of the United States Department of Agriculture’s cotton mattress program in Louisiana.”
“The cotton will be enough to supply low income rural families of the state with material to make about 137,000 homemade mattresses, which in many cases will replace corn shucks, sacks or other inadequate bedding. About 50 pounds of surplus cotton are used in making each mattress exclusive of the cotton in the ticking, which is also furnished.”
“The mattress program, conducted jointly by the Agricultural Extension Service, the Surplus Marketing Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, was begun in 1940, to promote use of cotton and to help low income rural families improve their living conditions.”
“Mr. Doles, saying that it had ‘proved highly successful,’ reported that more than 40,000 mattresses, utilizing about 2,000,000 pounds of surplus cotton, were made in 1940, in 62 parishes.”
This mattress making program began in the South in February of 1940 and by September of that year had spread to all states. All that was required for each participant was to bring a pair of scissors, a thimble, a pair of saw horses and several planks on which to tuft the mattresses. It was free but fifty cents was charged for needed thread and use of the mattress needles. For each double bed mattress fifty pounds of cotton and ten yards of ticking was given by the government. After completion the mattresses were beaten into shape.
This program was considered a big success. It helped people help themselves through a country-wide effort.
Learn more about Bossier Parish history by visiting the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.