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Home Economics, Online

The concept of "home economics" covers a lot of territory: It encompasses how we cook, eat, clean, make clothing and furniture, raise children, grow vegetables or pretty much everything else involved with maintaining a home. It is a primary school subject -- overwhelmingly directed at girls -- but it is also a scholarly subject, with its own body of literature.

More than 1,500 books covering various facets of home economics are now accessible online, thanks to a Cornell University Library effort dubbed the HEARTH project. The books were published between 1850 and 1950 and selected by teams of scholars for their historical importance

Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a professor at Cornell's College of Human Ecology and a leader of the HEARTH effort, says this is the first time a collection of this scale and scope has been made available online. She spoke with NPR's Robert Siegel about the definition of home economics and the impact of feminism on the field.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.