A Woman to Know: Ellen Swallow Richards
|Julia Carpenter||May 20, 2016|
You cannot make women contented with cooking and cleaning, and you need not try. — Ellen
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Ellen was a lot of firsts: the first American woman to graduate with a degree in chemistry (from Vassar in 1870); the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and, in 1873, the first woman to teach there, too.
Ellen pioneered the study of "ecofeminism," which today we call "home ec." But in the 1870s and 1880s, "ecofeminism" wasn't just a high school class — it was radical. Ellen lectured, researched and published on the value that "women's work" brought to the national economy. She devoted decades of research to making housework "efficient," showing women how everyday science (in nutrition, chemistry, home appliances, and more) could empower them at home. She believed that a happier, healthier home meant happier, healthier communities.
"The quality of life," she later wrote, "Depends upon the ability of society to teach its members how to live in harmony with their environment."
Add to your library list:
The Remarkable Life and Career of Ellen Swallow Richards (Pamela Curtis Swallow)
The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning (Ellen Swallow Richards)
The Ellen Swallow Richard Papers (Vassar College)
The Revenge of Ellen Swallow (The New York Times)
Women Working: Ellen Richards (Harvard University)
The Science of "Right Living" (Vassar Archives)
MIT: Salute to Women at a School Once 99.6% Male (The New York Times)
Ellen Swallow Richards (National Women's History Museum)
Ellen Swallow Richards and the founding of sociology (Barbara Richardson)
Ellen Swallow Richards (The Chemical Heritage Foundation)
Wonder Women of History: Ellen Swallow Richards (The Library of Congress)
Ellen Swallow Richards (Vassar Encyclopedia)
Ellen Swallow Richards (National Women's Hall of Fame)
** Send your own recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition. You can browse the archive here. **