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Department of Human, Environmental & Consumer Resource records

Identifier: 08.HECR


The Department of Home Economics was initially founded as the Manual Training program at the Michigan State Normal College in 1903 and taught classes in cooking, sewing, millinery, sanitation, and decoration. In 1919, the name of the department changed to Home Economics and in cooperation with the Fine Arts Department provided courses in Home Economic Design, Costume Design, and Home Decoration. The collection includes a history of department compiled for the 75th anniversary, clippings and press releases, pamphlets and fliers, program and curriculum materials and proposals for home economic and dietetic programs. There is little in the collection from the earliest years of the department aside from the memorabilia which includes a bread slicer and needle work examples.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1979
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

Researchers are asked to request materials 24 hours prior to visiting the the University Archives.

Historical Note

The Department of Home Economics was initially founded as the Manual Training program at the Michigan State Normal College in 1903. The Department was originally located in Welch Hall with courses being taught in cooking, sewing, millinery, sanitation, and decoration. In 1911, the department name was changed from Domestic Science to Household Arts and two three year programs were offered, Food and Cookery and Clothing and Textiles. In 1919, the name of the department changed to Home Economics and in cooperation with the Fine Arts Department provided courses in Home Economic Design, Costume Design, and Home Decoration.

The Department of Human, Environmental, and Consumer Resources can trace its roots at Eastern Michigan University back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Earliest training in this area was provided by the Department of Manual Training that was established in 1887, "to promote industrial education, to initiate habits of industry and thrift, and to foster all the makes of better living." Annette P. Chase, first teacher in the Domestic Science Department, stated that the 1904-1905 school year would include practical work in bacteriology, cookery, dietetics, serving, marketing, household economics, and art. In the fall of 1919, the name of the department was once again changed to become the Department of Home Economics. The Department cooperated with the Fine Arts Department, providing courses in Home Economics Design, Costume Design, and Home Decoration. A year later, the curriculum was expanded to include courses Child Care and Welfare, Home Economics for Special Students, and Cafeteria Management.

Growth in student enrollment, activities, programs, and facilities highlight the period of the department’s history from 1923-1943. Jessie E. Richardson, was Department Head from 1921-1922; S. Deborah Harmes, 1922-1923; Florence Lyte, 1923-1925; and Sara T. Murray, 1925-1928. Stability was provided to the administration of the department by Lucy Aiken (who later became Mrs. Charles Elliot), served in this capacity from 1928-1933. Estelle Bauch served as the next Department Head until her retirement in 1953. During this time, the Home Economics Club was formed, with dues of $0.25 per term. The group implemented monthly educational programs and conducted small research studies on comparisons of household products. The Home Management House, Practice House or the Ellen H. Richard House, after the founder of the field, was not only the site of the application of acquired skills, but a place for social activities. The students usually served Sunday dinner to the department faculty. The Home Management House moved from 306 North Normal to 415 Perrin Street in 1938. Each term six senior students, with a department instructor serving as the supervisor, demonstrated their sills in managing the responsibilities of a home. Susan Burson assumed leadership of the Department of Home Economics upon the resignation of Estelle Bauch in 1953.

At this time, Normal College was experiencing an influx of veterans returning from war, and the presence of married students, couples and families increased on campus. Broadening of the curriculum, with its emphasis on preparation for marriage and family life that began under Miss Burson, continued under the leadership of Mrs. Anita Fielder. From 1962-1963, a two year program was offered that would give full credit on a degree program if the student decided to continue in the field. An announcement was made that chemistry, which had deterred so many young women from enrolling in the program, would no longer be required as a prerequisite for those minoring in Home Economics or enrolling in elective courses. The late 1960s brought much turmoil to campus, and sharing Welch Hall with the Military Science Department, the Department of Home Economics was a target for student protests and rock projectiles. During this turbulent period, faculty were instructed to kept an additional copy of text books and course materials at home, so they could evacuate their offices on a moment’s notice. 1966-1967 Emphasis was placed on Home Economics as providing a wide variety of professional opportunities. This was demonstrated by implementing a new curriculum option, Home Economics in Business.

Later, majors in home economics specializations other than education were establishing in in dietetics, fashion merchandising, interior design, and hospitality management. An extensive offering of courses at the graduate level leading to a Master of Science degree began in 1964. In 1970, the department received its first allocation for graduate assistants with Val Krohn and An Fulton serving in this capacity for the clothing and foods areas. In 1975 when the College of Health and Human Services was established a number of programs In the summer of 1977, the Department of Home Economics moved into the newly renovated Roosevelt Hall, with the building dedication and the 75th Anniversary Dinner and Program held March 10, 1978. The new facilities and space in Roosevelt Hall and additional faculty allowed the development of more flexible and varied course offerings by the Home Economics Department.

After over a year of study in 1984, about the concepts and image of the term "home economics", at the local and national level, the faculty of the Department of Home Economics changed the name to the


3.4 Linear Feet (2 archive boxes, 1 halfsize archive box, 1 slide box, 3 oversize boxes, 1 object)

Language of Materials


2004 Reorganization of College of Health and Human Services and College of Technology

In July of 2003, the College of Health & Human Services (CHHS) Organizational Task Force and the College of Technology (COT) Organizational Committee submitted a report and recommendations to then Provost Schollaert. After careful input from the various university committees and affected colleges, the following alignments were implemented July 1, 2004:

• The entire Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation was moved from the College of Education to the College of Health & Human Services. This department was renamed the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance.

• The Department of Human, Environmental and Consumer Resources (HECR) was abolished, and the existing programs were moved to other departments in the College of Health & Human Services and to the College of Technology. Apparel, Textiles, & Merchandising (ATM) program, the Hotel & Restaurant Management (HRM) program and the Interior Design program (IDE) were moved to the School of Technology Studies (STS) in the College of Technology.

• The Department of Associated Health Professions gained two programs; Dietetics & Human Nutrition from HECR, and Therapeutic Recreation from College of Education. This Department then became the School of Health Sciences.

• Internally, the College of Technology was reorganized into two Schools: School of Technology Studies, and the School of Engineering Technology incorporating the three programs from CHHS, the Business Technology Education Department, the Interdisciplinary Technology Department and the Industrial Technology Department in the COT. In addition, Centers and Institutes were administratively combined under one director, and Military Science continued as a separate academic unit.

• The Department of Social Work became the School of Social Work

• The Department of Nursing became the School of Nursing

Department of Human, Environmental & Consumer Resource records
Previously known as the Department of Home Economics
Alexis Braun Marks, C.A.
2011 November 14
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2nd, February 2020

Repository Details

Part of the Eastern Michigan University Archives Repository

Bruce T. Halle Library, Room 310
955 West Circle Drive
Ypsilanti Michigan 48197