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 & 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 & Mary in Virginia," a 1924 fundraising publication included a proposal for constructing a building for Home Economics.
Material in the Special Collections Research Center
- Search the SCRC Collections Database for Home Economics.
- When Mary Comes to the College with William Blog, 19 February 2009.
- "The Petticoat Invasion": Women at the College of William & Mary 1918-1945, 19 February 2009.
- University Archives Building File, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
- University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
- "The Romance and Renaissance of the College of William & Mary in Virginia," Endowment Association, 1924, p. 28-29.