The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live

  • 11h 18m 40s
  • Danielle Dreilinger
  • Recorded Books, Inc.
  • 2021

The term "home economics" may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But common conception obscures the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the 20th century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and businesspeople. And it has something to teach us today.

In the surprising, often fiercely feminist, and always fascinating The Secret History of Home Economics, Danielle Dreilinger traces the field's history from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies. These women - and they were mostly women - became chemists and marketers, studied nutrition, health, and exercise, tested parachutes, created astronaut food, and took bold steps in childhood development and education.

Home economics followed the currents of American culture even as it shaped them. Dreilinger brings forward the racism within the movement along with the strides taken by women of color who were influential leaders and innovators. She also looks at the personal lives of home economics' women, as they chose to be single, share lives with other women, or try for egalitarian marriages.

In this Audiobook

  • Chapter 1 - The Road to Home Economics
  • Chapter 2 - The Lake Placid Conference
  • Chapter 3 - Food Will Win the War
  • Chapter 4 - Perhaps it wasn't Really a Man's Job after All
  • Chapter 5 - It's up to the Women
  • Chapter 6 - Clothes Moths Work for Hitler
  • Chapter 7 - From Coveralls to Housecoats
  • Chapter 8 - The Iron Fist in the Oven Mitt
  • Chapter 9 - Selling Mrs. Housewife
  • Chapter 10 - New Directions
  • Chapter 11 - New Homemakers Build the Future
  • Chapter 12 - Beyond Stitching and Stirring
  • Chapter 13 - Addressing the Enemy
  • Chapter 14 - Home Economics at Risk
  • Chapter 15 - What Would Ellen Do?