Home Economics

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The Department of Home Economics at William & Mary was organized in 1918 when the university began accepting women students. On August 24, 1918, future President of the College, Julian Alvin Carroll Chandler, wrote to President Lyon G. Tyler to express that his committee had "decided favorably on home economics for William and Mary." Chandler also expressed his hope that it would be a "real satisfactory college department."

According to the 1918-1919 Course Catalog, the department was "intended primarily for the training of teachers of Home Economics," but "open to all women of the college, and to others who may desire to elect them."

The Home Economics major included classes in the more "traditional" women's work, such as sewing and cooking, but it also included Math, English, and even Organic Chemistry. This department prepared women to become not only educated in the liberal arts, but also prepared them for a career.

Edith Baer served as Professor of Home Economics from 1918 to 1920. The department had a Practice House for students. The department was housed in Science Hall from 1922 through 1929 when it moved to Ewell Hall (which was then known as Phi Beta Kappa Hall). The Science Hall held classes for Home Economics and Music as well as classes for shorthand and typing during 1930 and 1931.

"The Romance and Renaissance of the College of William and Mary in Virginia," a 1924 fundraising publication included a proposal for constructing a building for Home Economics.

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The information available in this wiki is the best available from known documents and sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. Information in this wiki is not complete as new information continues to be uncovered in Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and elsewhere. Researchers are strongly encouraged to use the Special Collections search tools for their research as the information contained in this wiki is by no means comprehensive.