THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOME ECONOMICS - Danielle Dreilinger in conversation with Judy Walker

Please join us virtually for a special evening with former Times-Picayune education reporter Danielle Dreilinger presenting her new book, THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOME ECONOMICS: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live. She will appear in conversation with longtime Times-Picayune food writer Judy Walker.

To participate in this Zoom event:

  1. Please purchase a copy of THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOME ECONOMICS from Octavia Books now at  Books will be autographed by Danielle Dreilinger. As an additional bonus, when you pre-order the book, you will be entered in a raffle for a free embroidery kit.
  2. Then register here using the button below:

“By reading Danielle Dreilinger's biography of this long overlooked and deeply influential field, we come to understand not only the secret history of home economics but the secret history of American feminism. Dreilinger's case for continuing to reinvent this too-oft maligned discipline for the 21st century provides a thoughtful―and spot on―road map for how and why schools can teach children not only to manage homes efficiently but to become lifelong advocates for racial, gender and social equality." ―Sarah Carr, education editor at the Boston Globe and author of Hope Against Hope

The surprising, often fiercely feminist, always fascinating, yet barely known, history of home economics.

The term “home economics” may conjure traumatic memories of lopsided hand-sewn pillows or sunken muffins. But common conception obscures the story of the revolutionary science of better living. The field exploded opportunities for women in the twentieth century by reducing domestic work and providing jobs as professors, engineers, chemists, and business people. And it has something to teach us today.

In The Secret History of Home Economics, Danielle Dreilinger traces the field’s history from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies. These women―and they were mostly women―became chemists and marketers, studied nutrition, health, and exercise, tested parachutes, created astronaut food, and took bold steps in childhood development and education.

Home economics followed the currents of American culture even as it shaped them. Dreilinger brings forward the racism within the movement along with the strides taken by women of color who were influential leaders and innovators. She also looks at the personal lives of home economics’ women, as they chose to be single, share lives with other women, or try for egalitarian marriages.

This groundbreaking and engaging history restores a denigrated subject to its rightful importance, as it reminds us that everyone should learn how to cook a meal, balance their account, and fight for a better world.

Danielle Dreilinger is a former New Orleans Times-Picayune education reporter and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow. She also wrote for theBoston Globe and worked at the Boston NPR station WGBH. She lives in New Orleans.




Judy Walker was the food editor at The Times-Picayune, continues as contributing writer to The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate, and is the co-editor of the much beloved Cooking Up A Storm.



Event date: 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Event address: 

via Zoom
The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live Cover Image
ISBN: 9781324004493
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 4th, 2021

The surprising, often fiercely feminist, always fascinating, yet barely known, history of home economics.

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