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College of Human Ecology

Cornell University

Annotated Bibliography

Stage, Sarah and Virginia B. Vincenti, eds. Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Kroch Library - call number TX23.R43.
ILR Library (Ives Hall) - call number TX23.R43 1997.
Mann Library and Olin Library - call number TX23.R48x 1997.

This compilation of essays about home economics provides a broad picture of the newest historiography about the history of women in home economics and home economics as a profession. The essays in the book were originally written for a l990 conference at Cornell University entitled More Than Glorified Housekeeping: Rethinking Home Economics. It covers distinct fields within home economics (nutrition, textiles, public health, and child development), the social significance of the movement, the place of men in the field, the African American home extension service in the South, and critical problems that home economists faced in terms of pay and prestige. There are a number of essays that also deal with the role of the home economist in the consumer culture. These suggest there was some conflict within the field over their historic role as consumer advocates versus their new roles in product design, marketing, and sales. Joan Jacobs Brumberg contributes a short visual essay about historical films on home economics which she identified and donated to the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.

Tobias, Sheila. Beginning in the 1960s. The Politics of Women's Studies: Testimony from 30 Founding Mothers. Ed. Florence Howe. New York: Feminist Press, 2000.

Olin Library - call number HQ1181.U5 P65 2000.

This chapter is an autobiographical account by Sheila Tobias, a Radcliffe graduate, who worked as an assistant to the vice president of Cornell and organized the 1969 Intersession Program on Women. She describes the political atmosphere at Cornell, planning for the conference, and the development of the first womens studies course, The Evolution of Female Personality: Its History and Prospects. Tobias touches on the subject of female underemployment and discrimination within the university and describes how the College of Home Economics and Human Ecology came to house the conference and course.

Walsh, Margaret. The Democratization of Fashion: The Emergence of the Women's Dress Pattern Industry. The Journal of American History 66 (1979): 299-313.

ILR Library (Ives Hall) and Olin Library - call number F351.M675.
Uris Library - call number F351.M67.

Walsh documents the emergence of the paper pattern industry and explores the broad national and historical impact of the industry on fashion and home sewing in America. She describes the beginning of the ready-to-wear market and the democratization of American and European style through home sewing based on mail order patterns. She also provides background about the major pattern houses of the late nineteenth century, many of which still exist today.



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