Home Economics Research Topic

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Often twinned with Agriculture, the study of Home Economics found an early home at land grant colleges like Colorado State University, where the mission to educate farmers extended to farmers' wives. Consequently, Home Economics is one of the first fields in which significant numbers of women earned advanced degrees.

Butter making from the college catalog, State Agricultural College/Colorado Agriculture College, 1916-1917. Office of Instructional Services, CSU.
(Butter making from the college catalog, State Agricultural College/Colorado Agriculture College. c. 2002 CSU/Photography and Digital Imaging)

The skills emphasized were particularly important for the rural woman, who, isolated from urban convenience, had to learn how to shift for herself in matters of sewing, cooking, laundry, care of the sick, nutrition, and other areas of household management.

Woman milking a cow, State Agricultural College/Colorado Agriculture College circa 1921. Office of Instructional Services, CSU.
(Woman milking a cow, State Agricultural College/Colorado Agriculture College. c.2002 CSU/Photography and Digital Imaging)

This collection of Home Economics literature illustrates aspects of farm life ranging from rural housing conditions to historic food preservation techniques. Also, much of the thesis
research spills into the realm of Education; in Colorado there was a clear drive to bring Home Economics to school children.

People with chickens. Office of Instructional Services, CSU.
(People with chickens. c.2002 CSU/Photography and Digital Imaging)

For more on the national scope of the history of Home Economics, please see Cornell University’s HEARTH homepage: http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/

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