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College of Human Ecology

Cornell University

Timeline of the New York State
College of Home Economics, 1900-1969

1900 Martha Van Rensselaer arrived at Cornell to organize a reading course for farmers' wives
1901 First bulletin of the Cornell Reading Course for Farmer's Wives, Saving Steps, published and distributed
1903 Three courses relating to home and family life offered for credit at Cornell University
1905 First winter course taught in home economics. The program was non-credit, open to any woman in the state, and it continued until 1921
1907 First curriculum for the four-year course in home economics completed

Flora Rose joined the staff of home economics

Department of Home Economics established

1909 Martha Van Rensselaer received her A.B. from Cornell University
1911 First three students graduated from the Department of Home Economics

Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose granted the first full professorships for women at Cornell

1912 Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose voted members of the Cornell faculty and named co-directors of the Department of Home Economics in the College of Agriculture
1913 Department of Home Economics moved into its own building, called Comstock Hall, today the Computing & Communications Center
1914 Smith-Lever Act passed by United States Congress
1919 Department of Home Economics became the School of Home Economics within the New York State College of Agriculture
1922 Department of Hotel Administration established in the School of Home Economics

First M.S. in Home Economics awarded to Amy L. Hunter

1923 Martha Van Rensselaer named one of the twelve greatest women in the country by the League of Women Voters
1925 New York State College of Home Economics established at Cornell

Purnell Act made federal research funding available through 1930

1930 First Ph.D. in Home Economics at Cornell University awarded to Helen Canon
1932 Martha Van Rensselaer died
1933 College of Home Economics moved into Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
1936 Flemmie Kittrell awarded a Ph.D. in Home Economics, the first African American in the United States to earn such a degree
1940 Flora Rose retired and Mary Henry appointed acting director of the College
1941 Sarah Blanding appointed director of the College
1942 Sarah Blanding became the first female dean at Cornell
1944 Van Rensselaer and Rose Lectures established to bring distinguished women, such as Margaret Mead, to campus
1946 Sarah Blanding resigned to become first female president of Vassar College

Elizabeth Vincent appointed dean of the College

Home Economics Education became a department in the College

1947 First television broadcast planned and produced by the College of Home Economics

Catherine Personius, Head of the Department of Food and Nutrition, appointed coordinator of research and assistant director of Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station

1949 College of Home Economics became one of thirty-two constituent units of the State University of New York (SUNY)
1952 Mann Library opened, combining the libraries of the College of Agriculture and the College of Home Economics
1953 Elizabeth Vincent retired

Helen Canoyer became dean of the College

1954 The School of Hotel Administration separated from the College of Home Economics and became its own college, with H. B. Meek as dean
1955 Home Bureau Federation established
1958 Fifty-seven home economists from twenty countries gathered for the first time at the Institute and Workshop on International Education in Home Economics
1959 Flora Rose died
1960 Catherine Personius elected as the first female faculty trustee
1962 Television and Film Center completed
1963 Ghana Project established to assist women's education in Africa
1964 Home Economics International Activities Office established
1966 Head Start Program initiated

President's Committee to Study the College of Home Economics convened with Sara Blackwell as chair

1967 Final report of the President's Committee to Study the College of Home Economics submitted
1968 North Wing of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall dedicated

Dean Helen Canoyer retired

1969 David Knapp appointed dean

New York State College of Home Economics reorganized and renamed the New York State College of Human Ecology



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