We invite you to join us to discuss The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live by Danielle Dreilinger. Register here.
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 twentieth 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.
This groundbreaking and engaging history restores a denigrated subject to its rightful importance, as it reminds us that everyone should learn how to cook a meal, balance their account, and fight for a better world.
The League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg hosts a bi-monthly book club for its members and the general public. Meetings are held virtually via Zoom on the last Tuesday of the designated month from 7 to 8 pm. The goals of the club are to read great books, enhance our reading experiences, share our reactions and consider the reactions of others, and get to know fellow book lovers.
The book club supports a local Charlotte business (Park Road Books); readers who purchase titles here will receive a 20% discount (mention our club at checkout). Upcoming book club events are posted on the LWVCM website where interested individuals may register to attend at no cost.
Statements and opinions expressed during Book Club events, including those of the moderator(s), belong entirely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the League of Women Voters of Charlotte Mecklenburg.
For questions about the LWVCM Book Club, send an email to us at goleaguego [at] gmail.com or call our office at (704) 556-4600