This week at the Red Power Round Up I had a chance to take my picture with Irma Harding, International Harvester’s Golden Girl. The brush with the famous I.H. was only with the cardboard version, but I also had a brush with two other real-life Irma fans.
At the Round Up, held in Sedalia, Missouri, Marilyn McCray author of Canning, Pickling, and Freezing with Irma Harding: Recipes to Preserve Food, Family and the American Way offered a presentation about Irma. Since I had a small part in the book researching Irma collectibles, I was excited to meet her.
Then, Kevin Darst, the expert on all things Irma and IH was also at the show and many of her refrigeration/kitchen items were also on display at the show and served as a backdrop to Marilyn’s interesting presentation where she explained how IH “femineered” household equipment.
Just in case you have never heard of the lovely Irma, she was the fictional character created by International Harvester Company (IHC) to serve as their perfect spokeswoman. Based on home economists, this perfect woman was International’s trademark that helped many farmers’ wife to simplify her life on the farm with the advent of refrigeration equipment. Marilyn shared how the Harding Girls young women all posing as Irma Harding would put on presentations showing how to use the advertised packaging to freeze and can food.
Irma was a representative for a short period of time from 1947 to 1956 less than ten years, but her image and collectibles live on. Today, Irma has made a comeback with the new book and her recipes have been reworked. It was fun to meet Marilyn and reconnect with the wonderful Kevin who along with her husband Darrell has an amazing museum that many collectors visit and enjoy.
Going to the Red Power Round Up wonderful – my brush with Irma, priceless!