full text File Size: 827 K bytes | Add this to my bookbag




Home Economics began as part of the Extension Service in 1900 with the arrival of Martha Van Rensselaer and the establishment of the Farmers' Wives Reading Course. In 1903-1904 Martha Van Rensselaer and Anna Botsford Comstock taught three courses within the College of Agriculture at Cornell University, relating to home and family life. In 1907 the Department of Home Economics was established at Cornell, with Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose as its first instructors. In 1911 the two women became the first full-time female faculty members at Cornell. The Department of Home Economics became a school in 1919 and in 1925, the first state chartered College of Home Economics in the country. In 1969 it was renamed the New York State College of Human Ecology.


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


June 21, 1864 Born in Randolph, New York
1884 Graduated from Chamberlain Institute, Randolph, New York
For 10 years taught in public schools of western New York
1894 Elected school commissioner of Cattaraugus County, New York and served for 6 years.
1896-1903 Lecturer in teacher's institutes and Secretary of the State Summer School at Chautauqua.
1900 Called to Cornell and started educational extension courses.
1907 Instructor in Home Economics at Cornell.
1909 A.B. degree from Cornell.
1911 Professor at Cornell.
1914-1916 President of the American Home Economics Association.
1917 During World War I made head of the food conservation work in New York State and was appointed to the office of director of the food conservation division of the U.S. Food Administration by Herbert Hoover.
1920 Appointed joint head of Home Economics at Cornell with Flora Rose.
1923 Sent to Belgium to study the educational needs of women for the Commission for Relief in Belgium.
1929 Appointed director of the White House Conference for Child Health and Protection by Herbert Hoover.
1930 Received honorary D.Ped. from the New Yokr City College of Teachers.
1932 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall built; Martha Van Rensselaer died in New York City May 26, 1932.


October 13, 1874 Born in Denver, Colorado.
1932-1940 Instructor at Kansas State Agricultural College.
1904 B.S. from Kansas State Agricultural College.
1907-1911 Lecturer at Cornell in Home Economics.
1909 M.S. from Columbia University.
1911-1940 Professor and head of the Department of Home Economics at Cornell.
1917-1919 Director of food conservation program in New York
1923 Belgian study of nutrition of school children for the Educational Foundation of the Commission on Relief for Belgium.
1924 Member of Weight Control Conference called by New York Academy of Medicine and the American Medical Association.
1931 Ph.D. from Albany State Teachers College.
1932-1940 Director of the College of Home Economics.
1940 Retired from Cornell as Emeritus Director.
July 25, 1959 Died in LaJolla, California.