Helen Monsch (1881 - 1959) began her life-long career as
researcher and teacher long before she came to Cornell University
in the summer of 1918. Helen spent her early years in Louisville,
Kentucky, where she attended the State Normal School. In 1904,
she received her B.S. in Home Economics from the Kansas Agricultural
College. Five years later, she received her B.S. in Chemistry
from the University of Chicago. Monsch went on to receive her
M.S. in 1916 from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Both during and after her schooling, Monsch headed various
food and nutrition programs. Between 1907 and 1918, she worked
at Simmons College, public high schools in the Midwest, and
Iowa State College. She researched and developed standards in
child and infant feeding and nutrition at the Iowa University
Children's Hospital, Iowa Welfare Research Station, Rush Medical
College, and Illinois College of Medicine.
Monsch's experience in nutritional sciences and her friendship
with Flora Rose, co-director of the Home Economics Department,
made her a prime candidate for employment in Cornell's summer
home economics extension programs. Monsch quickly became one
of the most respected and well-liked professors in the department.
Her amiable personality and rigorous research contributed to
her growing popularity among home economics students and staff.
In 1925, she was promoted to head of the Food and Nutrition
Department, a position she held until her retirement in 1947.
At Cornell, Monsch continued her research as supervisor of
the children's nutrition program for the laboratory (nursery)
school. She taught nutrition courses dealing with the nutritional
needs of pregnant and nursing women and infants. Monsch co-authored
a book, Feeding Babies and Mothers of Babies, with her
former student Marguerite Harper. In addition, she directed
the film "For Health and Happiness" to further inform the public
about the importance of scientific nutrition. Monsch continued
her work with the extension program, and during World War I
developed information on the preparation of low cost diets for
At the age of 67, Helen Monsch retired from Cornell, but maintained
an active life in emerita status. Monsch donated over 300 volumes
to the home economics library, was a panelist at a New England
Health Institute on Child Development, and undertook the revision
of her book. Helen Monsch died at the age of 78. Like many collegiate
home economists of her time, Monsch remained unmarried her entire
life; teaching and learning always took center stage.