Clear thinking, sound judgment, established leadership
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This thesis research examined Helen Atwater’s contributions to the field of home economics as a writer, editor, administrator, and leader. Atwater’s career began during the Progressive Era, a period that shaped the development of the field of home economics and influenced Atwater’s career. Using historical research methods, this study attempts to untangle the complexity of historical circumstances and situations influencing her life. The primary sources used included the American Home Economics Association Archives, Smith College Archives, and Wesleyan University Archives. This research used the theoretical foundation of constructionism, the idea that meaning is not found, but constructed. This historical narrative creates a broader awareness about helping to shape the field of home economics, as well as women entering careers. The narrative illustrates Atwater’s impact on home economics, and how she contributed to the field through the dissemination of information during the first quarter century of its existence.