Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Home Economics at Cornell in 1918
I was browsing Flickr and realized that the Flickr Commons has a number of photographs uploaded from my alma mater, Cornell. I was looking through, and stopped on this photograph. Click on it and view it in the highest resolution. These were some interesting ladies. They posed for this photo right before women got the vote in the US. You can read their biographies here: Faculty of Home Economics at Cornell in 1918-19 school year. You can see the second row first lady on the left is holding her glasses in her hands. I wonder if the photographer made her take them off or if she wanted to remove them for the photo? There are so many details present in this photograph. The laces appear so crisp and fresh and the expressions of each of the women make me wonder more about them and their personal stories.
I find this photo fascinating, not only for the glimpse into history, but for the character and personality of each of the women pictured in it. There's some enlightening reading on the history of Home Economics in the US here.
"Canning peaches. Sewing a dress. Making perfect gravy. These are familiar images of home economics, but do they tell the whole story? So often home economics has been cast as a "conspiracy to keep women in the kitchen," an interpretation that has overlooked its impressive and diverse contributions. New scholarship in American women's history suggests that home economics was a progressive field that brought science to the farm home and women into higher education and leadership positions in public education, academia, government and industry."