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College of Human Ecology

Cornell University

Annotated Bibliography

Rossiter, Margaret W. Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies Until 1940. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

ILR Library (Ives Hall), Olin Library, and Uris Library - call number Q130.R83.
Mann Library - call number Q130.R83 1982.

Rossiter places home economics in the context of American women in science. Throughout the book she demonstrates how stereotypes of "woman" and "scientist" were considered irreconcilable. In this encyclopedic book, she examines womens early efforts to receive a scientific education, their contributions to scientific knowledge, and their struggles to gain entry and develop professional careers in chemistry, physics, biology, psychology, geology, and botany. Rossiter illustrates how women, in response to discrimination, created career fieldssuch as home economicsthat incorporated their scientific knowledge and served womens needs. She also discusses professional societies and shows how they kept women out both formally and informally. In her discussion of home economics at Cornell, she analyzes interactions between the home economics department and the university administration, stressing the low status accorded to professorships in home economics. Some of the charts and texts also reveal information about Cornells role in educating women in other scientific fields, such as psychology, in the early twentieth century.

Scanlon, Jennifer, Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture. New York and London: Routledge. 1995.

Olin Library - call number HC110.C6 S28 1995.
Uris Library - call number HC110.C6 S27x 1995

In this cultural history based on evidence from the Ladies' Home Journal, Scanlon offers a new and provocative perspective on the magazine, the advertising industry, and womens lives during the early twentieth century. Because the book explores the contradictions of a social agenda for women that promoted both traditional roles and the promises of a growing consumer culture, it is extremely relevant to the history of home economics. The title is a phrase coined by Lois Ardery of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in 1924. Ardery and others hoped consumer goods would satisfy womens deepest dreams and desires. Scanlon shows that the magazines domestic ideal focused on white, middle-class women readers, but that it failed to meet the needs of this target audience. Scanlon argues persuasively that the advertising proffered did not satisfy "inarticulate longings for personal autonomy, economic independence, intimacy, sensuality, self-worth, or social recognition.

Shapiro, Laura. Perfection Salad. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1986.

Hotel Administration Library (Statler Hall) - call number TX173.S44 1986.

This book takes a critical view of goals and activities in home economics. Shapiro, who writes for Newsweek magazine, focuses on the early cooking school connection and a cast of characters (such as Fanny Farmer) who had little of the Progressive Era reformist zeal of the founders at Cornell or the women in the American Home Economics Association. American cookery and cuisine are central to Shapiros interpretation, and she mocks them, as well as the women who thought that better food was the way to a better America. The title is taken from a 1905 recipe, for a salad that suspended shredded cabbage and pimentos in lime gelatin.



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