About the Photos


About the Site



About the Photographs

New York State College of Home Economics Records, Collection #23-2-749

Home economics at Cornell began as part of the Extension Service in 1900, with the Farmers’ Wives Reading Course, supported by Liberty Hyde Bailey (Dean of the College of Agriculture) and implemented by Martha Van Rensselaer. In 1903-1904, Van Rensselaer, Bailey, and Anna Botsford Comstock gave three courses within the College of Agriculture relating to home and family life. In 1907, Bailey decided to create a Department of Home Economics, headed by Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose, who were appointed to professorships (the first for women at Cornell) in 1911. The department became a school in 1919, and, in 1925, the first state-chartered College of Home Economics in the country. Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose were named co-directors. In 1969, the College of Home Economics became the New York State College of Human Ecology.

The records of the New York State College of Home Economics at Cornell University document the history of the College, and its activities, events, and personalities. The collection, housed in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of the Cornell Library, includes administrative records and correspondence that document the College’s involvement with government, educational, and private organizations at the national, state, and local levels; the College’s involvement in World War I and II, defense and relief committees; student and alumni activities; extension and outreach work; College committees and activities including the Farmers’ Institute, Farm and Home Week, Honors, and Home Economics Institutes; and blueprints, sketches, and samples relating to the construction of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. The collection also includes personal papers of Martha Van Rensselaer. Additionally over fourteen hundred photographs of students and faculty, buildings and scenes portray the College from its founding through 1969.

This Web site provides a database of selected images and information from the records of the College of Home Economics. The photographs are organized by general subjects: Resident Teaching; International, National, State, and Local Public Relations; All-College Activities; Administration and Personnel; Departments and Divisions; Buildings and Equipment; History of the College; and Miscellaneous. Within any particular general subject category, there are more specific topics, e.g. “Resident Teaching” includes “Students and Student Life,” “Homemaking Apartments,” and “Apartment Babies.” Descriptive information is provided for each image. Additional photographs may be found in this collection and in other holdings of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.


College of Human Ecology
Cornell University Library
Rare and Manuscript Collections
© 1999-2012, Cornell University