Dorothy Hewes Home Economic Papers

Women’s Museum of California Archives

Guide to Dorothy Hewes Home Economics Papers


Collection Summary

Title: Dorothy Hewes Home Economics Papers

Accession Number: AC-034

Creator: Unknown

Finding Aid Prepared By: Brianna Schwerling

Head Archivist: Julia Friedman

Date Acquired: Unknown

Date Processed: June 12, 2017

Location: Women’s Museum of California

Language: Collection Material is in English, A couple items are in Japanese with some translation

Extent: One Box


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research

Use Restrictions: None


Related Collection

LC-008_C Journal of Home Economics

Historical Note

Dorothy Hewes was an influential leader in the field of home economics in the city of San Diego and the state of California. Her area of focus within home economics was the development of parenting skills. The field of home economics started in the 1800’s through the 1990’s where focuses shifted from household care to parenting skills and childcare. With the progression of the field came about various organizations such as the American Home Economics Association (AHEA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Brief History of Dorothy Hewes and Home Economics 

Dorothy Hewes lived from (1922-2013). As a child she was taught about Friedrich Froebel’s principles, which became influential later on in her higher education and sparked her interest in child education. Hewes received her Bachelor’s degree in Institutions Management from the College of Home Economics at Iowa State College. She graduated during World War II where she then went on to join the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. After WWII she went on to receive her MBA from UC Berkley and earned her Ph.D in Early Childhood Education and History of Education from Union Graduate School in Ohio. From 1974-1992 Dorothy Hewes was a professor of Family Studies and Consumer Sciences (formerly the Department of Child and Family Development), at San Diego State University, where she then became professor emeritus. She focused her coursework on the development of parenting skills; steering away from the traditional home economics course track. Hewes was one of the leading figures of modeling the course work after parenting skills rather than home economics. She served on governing boards for both the NAEYC and California AEYC. In 1972 she founded the NAEYC annual conference history seminar where she was also a facilitator. In 1981, Hewes founded the San Diego County Employee’s Childcare Center where she remained an active participant after its founding. From 1985-2011 Hewes was the faculty advisor for the on-campus Children’s Center at San Diego State University. Hewes also published several books on the topic of childcare.[1]

The importance and organization of Home Economics came about in the 1800’s. At this time the focus was primarily on agriculture. In the 1890’s there became more of a focus on nutrition and food preparation, particularly in schools. One of the first significant events in the field was the Lake Placid Conference of 1909; this was where the AHEA was founded. The Journal of Home Economics was also first published that same year. A primary focus of the field was how modern science and technology could be used to better the home life. Articles were published explaining the importance of maintaining a household and looking after ones family through: cooking, cleaning, and parenting skills. Recipes and cooking tips were printed in newspapers and magazines for women to refer to as well. In the 1920’s parenting education was added to the field. Home economics courses were offered in schools and women could receive degrees in the field.[2]

Summary of the Collection

The Dorothy Hewes Home Economics Papers Collection consists of one box. The box contains timelines and documents about the history of home economics, along with the history of the American Home Economics Association (AHEA). There are letters of correspondence between Dorothy Hewes and the director of the NAEYC. In the last few folders there are resource materials arranged by the NAEYC National Task Force to share the collaboration of ideas as to how they wanted to modify the name and objective of the profession.


Container List: Box and Folder Material

Box 1: Folder 1: History of Home Economics 1800’s-1990’s

Box 1: Folder 2: General Correspondence 1993

Box 1: Folder 3: Positioning the Profession 1993 (1 of 5)

Box 1: Folder 4: Positioning the Profession 1993 (2 of 5)

Box 1: Folder 5: Positioning the Profession 1993 (3 of 5)

Box 1: Folder 6: Positioning the Profession 1993 (4 of 5)

Box 1: Folder 7: Positioning the Profession 1993 (5 of 5)

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Folder 1:

Folder 1 contains timelines of the history in the field of Home Economics from the 1800’s-1990’s. It contains magazine and newspaper articles discussing the roles of Home Economics and how the field has changed over time. There are also documents and pamphlets discussing the history of the American Home Economics Association (AHEA) and their annual meetings; including one that was held in Japan.

Folder 2:

Folder 2 contains letters where Dorothy Hewes corresponded with the director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). As well as letters she received from the NAEYC and a press release from the 1993 AHEA conference.

Folder 3- Folder 7:

Folders 3-7 contain resource booklets for attendees of the National Task Force and Professional Unity and Identity meeting that took place October 21-23, 1993 in Scottsdale Arizona. These materials were for directors in the various associations within the field of home economics AHEA, NAEYC, etc. to review ways of updating the profession. Included in the materials are charts and graphs of how they would like to accomplish changes within the home economics field.



[1] Dorothy Hewes Papers (Historical Note), Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.


[2]  Dorothy Hewes Home Economics Papers, Home Economics Timeline, Box 1, Folder 1, Women’s Museum of California Archives, San Diego, CA.