Alice Edwards and her wonderful diversion…

OAC alumnae Alice Leora Edwards was born April 19, 1882 in Monroe, Oregon. She graduated in 1906 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics — and then she takes a wonderful turn! Though she is quite well-known for her work in Home Economics. she started her academic career as an instructor in Zoology and Entomology at OAC (1909 – 1915) and served as a student assistant in the Biology department at Teachers College, Columbia University (1915 – 1917).

After her stint at Columbia, she returns to her “career path” in 1917, receiving an M.A. from Columbia University and an Assistant Professor of Dietetics position at the University of Minnesota (1917 – 1918). From 1921 to 1926, she was the Dean of Home Economics at Rhode Island College. Then, as many academics do, she returned to school, earning her Ed.D. from Columbia University Teachers College (1940). In 1941, she became the Dean of Home Economics at Mary Washington College at the University of Virginia at Fredericksburg, a position she held until her retirement from academic life in 1951.

Edwards was Executive Secretary of the American Home Economics Association from 1926 until 1936, representing the organization on the Council of American Standards, the Women’s Joint Congressional Committee, and the President’s Advisory Committee on Education. She devoted her career to acting as an advocate for standardized size and labels for consumer goods. She edited Scientific Consumer Purchasing: A Study Guide for the Consumer (1939), co-authored Consumer Standards (1941), and wrote Product Standards and Labeling for Consumers (1940).

However, Edwards was not all bugs, beasts, baking, or buttons! In 1925, as a member of the World Student Christian Federation, she traveled to Europe with a group to encourage and coordinate the work of existing national student Christian movements after the devastation of World War I.

Alice Leora Edwards moved back to Oregon in 1951 and died in Corvallis, Oregon on July 4, 1962.

To learn more about Alice Edwards and the archival items we have in our collection, check out the guide for her personal papers. Take the time to read through the “Scope and Content Note” section, which describes the biographical materials, correspondence, Oregon State specific materials, diaries, and photographs you’ll find in the collection. Since we’re always big fans of photos in the Archives, it’s interesting to note that included in this collection is a group photograph of the opening of the Celilo Canal on the Columbia River in 1913, with Oregon Senator Nathan Whealdon and L.N. Edwards in attendance. Again, it’s all connected! She’s also saved pictures of the OAC senior class of 1906, the OAC campus, the Washington State College campus (Pullman, WA), various photographs taken during her trip to Europe in 1925, and family photographs.

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