Home Economics/ Family and Consumer Sciences
Bridgewater College first offered Home Economics courses during the 1920-1921 semester. Early classes focused on food sciences and textiles. Courses on home management, childcare, home nursing, and nutrition were added in the 1930s.
Bridgewater College was approved by the Virginia State Board of Education to train teachers of Home Economics in May 1948 through a Bachelor of Science degree. A Bachelor of Arts degree was also offered in Home Economics.
Home Economics moved rather often during the early and mid-20th century. Classes were first held in the White House. After about a year, they moved to the basement of Founder’s Hall (now Flory Hall-East). In September of 1929 they moved to the basement of Rebecca Hall. Home management work later moved to the apartment in Cole Hall, George B. Flory House, and then the Charles W. Roller House.
Moomaw Hall, the current base of Family and Consumer Sciences at Bridgewater College opened in 1969 and was dedicated in 1970. Moomaw Hall is connected with Rebecca Hall at the east side and a renovation allowed some use of facilities in Rebecca Hall for Home Economics. Moomaw Hall was built with food preparation laboratories, a sewing laboratory, teaching classrooms, home management apartments, childcare and child development facilities, a dining room, and living rooms. At its opening, Moomaw Hall also boasted of its new electronic oven and air conditioning.
The first Home Economics instructor was Mary McKee Seebert. She was succeeded by A. Lucille Gnagly and a number of other professors. Notable professor S. Ruth Howe headed the department from 1945 to 1970. Jean Perry, Mary L. Rushton, and Janet W. Stevens were later professors of Home Economics at Bridgewater College. They trained students for a number of careers and often participated in practice home management, internships, field trips, interterms, and independent studies.
This gallery is a representation of Home Economics work as chronicled in the photograph archives at Bridgewater College. The archives also preserve Family and Consumer Sciences Department Records that chronicle the earlier days of the department in manuscripts, slides, and photographs. A collection of scrapbooks from the Home Economics club Mu Epsilon Mu are also held by the archives.
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