Beyond stirring and stitching: The women behind home economics

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Born in Mississippi during the Civil War, Margaret Murray Washington went from washerwoman’s daughter to college dean and advanced ideas of domestic work in the Black household. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-B2-3673-8.


Florence Falk was just one “radio homemaker” who broadcast recipes, household tips, and stories of life on the farm to a hungry audience. Photo courtesy of Iowa Women’s Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.


“The opportunities for schooling were really limited,” says Danielle Dreilinger. Part of what drove home economics was an explosion of education in the 20th century. Photo by Kathleen Flynn.


“The Secret History of Home Economics” traces the paths of the women who were chemists, marketers, and educators, in a field that has been both denigrated and embraced. Photo courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company.

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Evan Kleiman