Edna Phyllis Amidon (born 1895) was a leader in 20th century home economics education. After earning her MS in Home Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1927, Amidon joined the Home Economics Education Service of the Federal Board for Vocational Education. There, she worked as a regional agent in the North Atlantic until 1938 when she replaced Florence Fallgatter as chief of the Service. Her tenure spanned the Great Depression, World War II, and the post-war era--periods of growth and reorientation for the field of home economics. During this time she spoke and published actively in support of home economics education and, in 1945, founded the Future Homemakers of America (FHA). Amidon's professional interests were global and, in 1947, she participated in a U.S. War Department mission to assess the state of home economics in U.S.-controlled Germany. She also attended the 8th International Management Conference in Sweden (1947) and the International Seminar on Education and the Problems of Daily Living in France (1954).
In addition to numerous papers and articles, Amidon coauthored Learning to Care for Children with Dorothy Bradbury (1943) and served on the Committee on Education convened to produce "American Women: Report of the President's Commission on the Status of Women" (1963). She was also an active member of numerous professional organizations including Phi Upsilon Omicron, the American Vocational Association, and the American Home Economics Association. She received awards for her service from the American Vocational Association, the American Home Economics Association, the Federal Security Agency, and the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Amidon retired from the Home Economics Education Service in 1964 and relocated to Eugene, Oregon. She died in 1982.
The Edna P. Amidon Papers are comprised predominately of materials collected by Amidon during her tenure as Regional Agent (1929-1938) and Chief (1938-1964) of the Home Economics Education Service. Included are administrative records and activity reports; correspondence, publications, and documentation relating to New Deal and World War II-era initiatives; correspondence, reports, and speeches from Service employees; records of outreach and assistance to post-war European home economics educators; professional correspondence; and materials from other conferences and organizations. Included is material generated by Amidon's predecessors, Adelaide S. Baylor and Florence Fallgatter.
The collection also includes materials generated and collected by Amidon during her professional visits to Germany (1947), Sweden (1947), and France (1954). Included are extensive reports, incoming and outgoing correspondence, and supporting materials on the state of home economics education in post-war Germany; records from the 8th International Management Conference held in Sweden; notes, reports, and administrative documents from the International Seminar on Education and the Problems of Daily Living, held in France; and literature and photos from India, including images taken at the Literacy House in Lucknow (circa 1955). The collection also contains souvenirs and photographs collected during Amidon's travels and includes postcards, informational brochures and pamphlets, and a series of maps depicting occupied Germany circa 1947.
Other materials include numerous pamphlets, brochures, and published reports relating to issues of home economics and social welfare in the United States, France, and Sweden including several items published by the U.S. Office of Education. Additionally, the collection contains biographical material from Amidon including personal correspondence, award certificates and other acknowledgements, photographs and published images of Amidon, and a series of newsclippings, many of which document the work of war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open for research.Preferred Citation :
Edna P. Amidon Papers (MSS Amidon), Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
The Edna P. Amidon Papers are arranged into four series: I. U.S. Home Economics Education Service, circa 1924-1979; II. International Travel and Activities, 1947-1955; III. Professional Literature, 1930-1963; and IV. Biographical Materials, 1927-1979.
Acquisition Information :
The Edna P. Amidon Papers were transferred from the OSU Human Development and Family Sciences Department to the University Archives in 2007. The materials now reside in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center.Related Materials : Related Materials
The Oregon State University Libraries holdings include Learning to Care for Children, authored by Amidon and Dorothy Bradbury in 1943 and New Horizon for College Women (1960) with a chapter titled "Toward Successful Family Living" by Amidon. SCARC also holds the Ava Milam Clark Papers (MSS Clark) which include records of Milam's home economics outreach in Asia and the Middle East. Other home economics-related collections include the College of Home Economics and Education Records (RG 141), the Oregon State University Home Economics Alumni Association Records (MSS HomeEcAlumni), the Home Economics Club Records (MSS HomeEcClub), the College of Home Economics Motion Picture Films and Videotapes (FV P 044), and the College of Home Economics Oral Histories (OH 11).
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series I is comprised of material generated by Amidon, Adelaide Baylor, Florence Fallgatter, and others through their employment with the Home Economics Education Service. Included are administrative records (reports, memos, press releases, and meeting notes); reports on the activities of the Service and its members; files on Service employees; conference materials; professional correspondence; and records from Amidon's membership in the "20 Plus Club," an organization dedicated to recognizing the service of professionals in home economics education. Of note is correspondence and reports relating to cooperative efforts between the Service and several New Deal organizations including the Works Progress Administration, the National Youth Administration, the Farm Security Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority and includes materials from the 1939 Rural-Urban Women's Conference. This series also contains drafts of speeches, reports, and publications authored by Amidon, including an annotated typescript of "American Women: Education for Family Living"; a scrapbook of newsclippings about the Service compiled by Amidon; and records from Amidon's retirement in 1964.
Series II is comprised of materials collected by Amidon relating to her international travel on behalf of the Home Economics Education Service. Materials relate predominately to a trip to Germany arranged by the U.S. War Department (1947), attendance at the 8th International Management Conference in Sweden (1947), and the International Seminar on Education and the Problems of Daily Living in France (1954). Included are informational materials (itineraries, programs, travel documents, etc.); extensive notes and reports; photographs and a transparency; and correspondence; and travel souvenirs (including five maps depicting post-World War II occupied Germany). Also included is literature and photographs from India, including photographs of Indira Gandhi, Welthy Fisher, and Literacy House in Lucknow.
Series III is comprised of home economics literature collected by Amidon. Included are pamphlets and booklets from the U.S. Office of Education ("School Children and the War" and "Family Saving and Spending in Wartime"); U.S. home economics programs ("Measuring Home Management" and "The History of Home Economics"); France ("Feminine Work and Work at Home" and "Rational Construction of a Home"); and Sweden ("The Postwar Programme of Swedish Labour" and "Social Benefits in Sweden").
Series IV is comprised of biographical and personal materials collected by Amidon. Included is a small collection of personal correspondence; a typescript of Amidon's 1927 master's thesis, "The Development of a Method of Evaluating Ability in Meal Preparation"; numerous awards and recognitions for her professional achievements from Phi Upsilon Omicron, the U.S. government, the American Vocational Association, and other organizations; and numerous photographs and publications featuring images of Amidon and others including John F. Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt. Also included is a file of newsclippings comprised predominately of articles by and about war correspondent Ernie Pyle and a collection of miscellaneous ephemera, pamphlets, and publications.