The Stories They Tell

Clara Duggan

Henry Lomb, President of the Board and one of the founders of the Institute, had considered offering coursework to women from the time of the founding. In 1892, five women were appointed to a committee, headed by Mrs. Betsy Andrews to consider the feasibility of adding cooking instruction to RAMI's offerings.

The first domestic science class was held on March 2, 1893, within months the Department of Domestic Science and Art formally opened with courses in cooking, sewing, emergencies, hygiene, and home nursing. By 1899, the department had grown from 367 to 1,310 students with additional courses in millinery, laundry work, elementary chemistry, physiology, teaching methods, dressmaking, and home furnishing.

Domestic science students were required to wear cooking caps, dresses, and aprons during classes while they studied subjects such as home cookery, invalid cookery, and preservation of food. As part of their school supplies Home Economics students purchased and maintained recipe files. Recipe categories ranged from cakes, pastries, puddings, to pickling, meats, sauces and typically called for large batch sizes as evidenced by some of the recipes in the exhibit.

Clara Duggan, a student in the Home Economics program at RAMI, graduated in 1913. Her personal mementoes were recently donated to the RIT Archives along with her story, affectionately told by her daughter Dorothy Wood.

1913 Cooking Class
1913 RAMI Commencement program
Clara's story
Clara's story, page 2
Cooking cap
Cooking class, 1910-11
Cooking lab clipping
Sample recipes