Click here to go to the Mann Library Home PageClick here to return to the HEARTH Home PageClick here to go to the Cornell University Home Page

Click here to go to the About PageClick here to go to the Subjects PageClick here to go to the Search PageClick here to go to the Browse PageClick here to go to the Contact PageClick here to go to the Help Page

Housing, Furnishing and Home Equipment

Home economists were always deeply concerned with homes and the furnishings and appliances they contained. These physical objects were of interest, not as ends in themselves, but as means for people to live their lives in safe, healthful, efficient, and economical ways. From the early days of the field, as it began taking shape in the late nineteenth century, home economists were researchers, educators, and activists in efforts to improve housing. They studied heating systems, ventilation, waste disposal, water supply, fire prevention, laundry arrangements, and kitchen equipment in order to determine optimal living conditions for various types of families. Research often focused on studying the labor-saving devices that became available during the first half of the twentieth century, such as the vacuum cleaner and the dishwasher. Educators sought to provide consumers with information needed to make good choices in renting, buying, and outfitting their homes. In doing so, they included attention to financial concerns such as negotiating leases and mortgages. Starting especially with the advent of New Deal legislation in the 1930s, home economists became involved with issues of housing policy, as availability of affordable, good-quality housing was coming increasingly to be seen as a matter of public concern.

- Martin Heggestad, Mann Library

Click here for the full bibliography (101kb PDF file) of this subject.

Back to Subjects listing.

Photo © Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Click here to go to the Cornell University Home Page

Albert R. Mann Library. . Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition and History (HEARTH). Ithaca, NY: Albert R. Mann Library, Cornell University. (Version January 2005).

© Cornell University Library. Questions? Comments? Please contact us.

(Back to top of page.)

Click here to go to the IMLS Home Page