Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/288

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

a home can do much to further these results. Warden J. C. Sanders, of the State Penitentiary at Fort Madison, Iowa, said that out of the 455 inmates, very few had had the advantage of a good home.[1]

Although woman is specialized for this important business of home work upon the outcome of which depends first the vital, then the mental, moral and social, welfare of mankind, she receives in but few cases any preparation for her important task. She takes the methods of housework which are traditional in her environment and makes use of them according to her individual training and aptitude. The exceptional woman may use all the data of the scientists in the administration of her home. What she is able to do ought not to be made the measure of what the average woman may be expected to do. The average woman goes blindly on in her specialized work, laboring hard at a task for which she has no aid but home traditions and the columns of the home magazines.

To be sure the home magazines are contributing much toward better conditions of home living, for many women would not know that scientists are at work continually on problems of home betterment were not some of the results of their investigations made available through the medium of the home magazines.

The bulletins of the Department of Agriculture, the farmer's institutes throughout the country, the home economics movement,[2] and many writers—Mrs. Richards, Miss Barrows, Miss Bevier, Mrs. Korer, Miss Kinne, Mrs. Hill, Miss Farmer, Miss Hunt, Mrs. Lincoln and others—are doing much by a crusade of enlightenment to improve conditions of foods, their preparation and uses in our homes. That is, they are trying to make available for women the knowledge of the scientists, which either is not available for the average woman or else is beyond her mental reach.

For instance, two noteworthy books on the subject of nutrition by Professor Chittenden, of Yale University, have been published in recent years.[3] They are noteworthy because by scientific tests upon different classes of people they show the exact needs of the body for protein, the material for building up and replacing tissue. Consequently some very definite conclusions can be drawn concerning food customs which should be known to every woman and prevail in every household. The essential parts of the books are so plainly and entertainingly written that a woman with at least a high school education could understand them and profit by them. Yet inquiry reveals very few housekeepers who have read them. The reason for this ignorance can be attributed to the fact that as yet woman in her evolution has not reached

  1. An address delivered before the Iowa City High School, December, 1909.
  2. Bevier and Usher, "History of the Household Economics Movement."
  3. Chittenden, "Physiological Economy of Nutrition," Chittenden, "The Nutrition of Man." The F. A. Stokes Company.