Celebrating the History of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky
In 1915, the number of female county agents grew to 25, and their work expanded to include home demonstration clubs and girls' canning clubs (Smith, 1981). [...]Family and Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky was bom. In addition to having a county homemakers' association, each county having a home demonstration agent had a county advisory council, whose function was to... (see full summary)
The centennial for the Smith-Lever Act and for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky will be celebrated in 2014. The program began with 17 women employed for the summer of 1914 to focus on canning club work. It has since evolved into a broad-based program striving to improve the quality of life for individuals and families. From a challenging start in its early years, the first century of family and consumer sciences (FCS) work at UK has seen tremendous growth in employees and maturing of the program. Now in its second century, the program continues to meet local needs by providing research-based information to Kentuckians.The celebration of the centennial of the SmithLever Act coincides with the celebration of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension at the University of Kentucky. The roots of FCS Extension at the University of Kentucky trace back to demonstration trains and canning clubs and provide the underpinnings for today's broad-based programming.The Early YearsIn 1912, the first Extension demonstration train pulled out of Lexington, Kentucky, and headed for all comers of the state. The eight-car train included one car dedicated to domestic science. Over 29 days, it covered 2,453 miles, made 108 stops, and reached more than 70,000 Kentuckians (Smith, 1981). During the next 2 years, it made other occasional journeys across the state. "Moveable schools" were established and operated for a 2-year period. The schools lasted 3 to 4 days and provided more intensive instmction than had been possible with the demonstration train. Upon request, the schools were held in any locality that offered an adequate audience and facilities. Extension professionals traveled from the university campus to locations across the state (Bryant, 1939).Following this early success, permanent home economics programming was established. In 1913, Helen Wolcott was hired as the first state leader for canning club work (Smith, 1981). She was located in the Department of Home Economics, which included the recently created academic program in home economics at the University of Kentucky. During the gardening and canning season of 1914, twelve Caucasian women and five African American women were hired to lead canning club work. This early work was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kentucky State Commissioner of Agriculture, and local sources. In 1915, the number of female county agents grew to 25, and their work expanded to include home demonstration clubs and girls' canning clubs (Smith, 1981). Thus, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension at the University of Kentucky was bom.An early Historical Appraisal of Home Demonstration Work describes the beginnings of FCS Extension in 1914.There were no good roads, no adequate office facilities, no means of transportation, no organization nor plan of organization, no established procedures, no local funds for supplies and equipment. These early workers begged, borrowed and did everything but steal a little equipment and a few supplies; they literally had to run down classes to teach, had to meet all kinds of objections, criticism and opposition to their programs, to get about as they could on trains and trolleys, by courtesy of farmers who would come to meet them. Some were fortunate enough to secure the use of a horse and buggy. (Weldon, 1939, p. 1)World War I influenced the development of FCS programming at the University of Kentucky. Emphasis was given to producing...
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