Special Collections and University Archives

Student baking during a
Department of Home Economics class, 1947

As the State Normal and Industrial School was founded with the mission of producing teachers and educating women to assist in the recovery of the post Civil War South, classes needed to support the three concentrations of study: teaching, home economics, and business. The early administration of the school did not view these programs as mutually exclusive, insisting, “a model woman, as the mistress of a model home, ought to know something of business, and above all things, ought to be an intelligent teacher.” In the 1930s, what was then the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, provided the opportunity for students to earn valuable practical experience in household management by working in one of the campus’ Home Management Houses. By the 1940s, the Department of Home Economics offered seven specialized focuses of study, including course concentration in Foods and Nutrition, an invaluable area of knowledge as the United States implemented food rationing initiatives during World War II.

“What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?: Becoming a Domestic Goddess at the Woman’s College” features photographs and artifacts reflecting the Department of Home Economics curriculum, as well as excerpts from the Special Collections and University Archives’ Home Economics Pamphlets Collection. The exhibit can be viewed from September 25th – November 2nd, 2015.

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