1957 Home Ec Club, printed in 1957. Winona Yearbook.

The Hillsdale Col­legian pub­lished its most incon­se­quential front-page headline on Feb. 28, 1951: “Home Ec Hears Dec­o­ration Talk.”

How did this become a front page-worthy news story, you may ask?

Unfor­tu­nately, I do not have an answer for you, but I will try to expand more on Hillsdale’s history with home eco­nomics.

The Feb. 28 article reads, “Mrs. Abraham of Hudson, Michigan … spoke on the basic prin­ciples of dec­o­rating a new home. She worked out color and material com­bi­na­tions for dec­o­rating various rooms in the home.”

Finally Hillsdale College was offering a class explicitly designed for its ring-by-spring seekers.

The article con­tinues, “Mrs. Abraham stated that the main ideas to con­sider in dec­o­rating a room are to make it com­fortable and restful. She also informed the girls that it was now acceptable to mix antiques with modern fur­niture.”

Well thank God for that. Now I can finally place my antique vase next to my lava lamp.

The article states that the lecture con­cluded with a question and answer session. I cannot imagine what kind of thought-pro­voking ques­tions were asked.

But a dec­o­ration talk was not all that was offered to the home econ­o­mists. On March 20, 1952, The Col­legian pub­lished, “Home Ec Group Sees Style Show.”

Dec­o­rating and fashion: the only things a girl needs appar­ently.

The article states, “The Home Eco­nomics Club spon­sored a group of our stu­dents and faculty members last week, when they drove to the Uni­versity of Toledo for a preview of fashions for this coming spring and summer.”

Do any pro­fessors think that it would be a good use of their aca­demic time to accompany this trip? In ret­ro­spect, the pro­fessors of Home Eco­nomics probably thought it was a good idea.

This fashion show did not display just any clothes however. The Col­legian wrote, “Entitled ‘Spring Fashion Salad Bowl’ the clothes were modeled in new shades such as blue­berry, coconut, cucumber, avocado and black olive. The styles ranged from shorts and pedal pushers to formals and short jackets.”

Fruits and veg­etables may be kosher, but they are cer­tainly not couture.

Once again, I have to assume that this article took a little cre­ative liberty when choosing sources because when talking about the expe­rience of the show the author quotes Miss Olive Berry.

It cannot be pos­sible that the first and last name of the only source for a salad-themed fashion line are both salad ingre­dients. I refuse to fall for The Collegian’s traps this time.

Finally, the Home Ec department also offered lec­tures on silver. An article pub­lished on April 24, 1952 reported, “A rep­re­sen­tative of Wood and Sey­bolds Jewelry store enter­tained the girls of the Home Eco­nomics Club at Ambler house.”

The article con­tinued, “He dis­played many dif­ferent types of beau­tiful sil­verware of his­torical interest… The girls were very pleased that such an evening had been planned, as they are sure that they gained valuable pointers in the history and the pur­chasing of sil­verware.”

I don’t want to point out the obvious, but what college student is able to afford fine sil­verware? The plastic forks and knives at McDonalds are a financial stretch for me, let alone genuine sil­verware.

Most likely due to these expansive oppor­tu­nities, the Home Eco­nomics major was sur­pris­ingly popular. According to the May 6, 1941 issue of the Col­legian, almost 11% of the grad­u­ating senior class were Home Ec majors.

I don’t know what this says about the past of our college, but I am cer­tainly happy that I never had to take a class that required me to both make salad and dress like one in order to pass.