Atwater, Helen (1876–1947)

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Atwater, Helen (1876–1947)

American home economist who became the first female full-time editor of the Journal of Home Economics (1923). Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1876; died in Washington, D.C., on June 26, 1947; graduated from Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1897.

Helen Atwater's first job after graduating from Smith College was as an assistant to her father, a food chemistry specialist. Following his death, she joined the staff of the Office of Home Economics in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a frequent contributor to the Journal of Home Economics, a publication of the American Home Economics Association, she went to work for them in 1923, becoming their first woman editor that year, and stayed until her retirement in 1941.

In 1930, she participated in the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, and, in 1942, served as chair of the Committee on Hygiene in Housing of the American Public Health Association. In 1948, a year after her death, the American Home Economics Association honored her by establishing the Helen Atwater International Fellowship Award.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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