Home Ec Babies


Emily Anthes reports on the bizarre history of using real "practice" babies, borrowed from orphanages, in home economics classes:

Cornell’s program ran from 1919 to 1969 (which strikes me as incomprehensibly recent). At Cornell, eight female students at a time spent a full semester living in a fully-kitted out practice apartment. The women were there to learn the entire spectrum of homemaking skills, and, the exhibit says, “an early proponent of the program, believed that babies were essential to replicate the full domestic experience. Albert Mann, Dean of the College of Agriculture, called the apartments ‘essential laboratory practice for women students.’”