Ellen Swallow Richards

Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards (December 3, 1842 – March 30, 1911) was an industrial and safety engineer, environmental chemist, and university faculty member in the United States during the 19th century. Her pioneering work in sanitary engineering, and experimental research in domestic science, laid a foundation for the new science of home economics.[1][2] She was the founder of the home economics movement characterized by the application of science to the home, and the first to apply chemistry to the study of nutrition.[3]

Richards graduated from Westford Academy (second oldest secondary school in Massachusetts) in 1862. She was the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She graduated in 1873 and later became its first female instructor.[1][4] Mrs. Richards was the first woman in America accepted to any school of science and technology, and the first American woman to obtain a degree in chemistry, which she earned from Vassar College in 1870.[5][6][7]

Richards was a pragmatic feminist, as well as a founding ecofeminist, who believed that women's work within the home was a vital aspect of the economy.[8]

Ellen H. Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards (2)
Ellen H. Richards
From The Life of Ellen H. Richards
by Caroline L. Hunt, 1912
Ellen Henrietta Swallow (Nellie)

December 3, 1842
DiedMarch 30, 1911 (aged 68)
Boston, Massachusetts
Resting placeChrist Church Cemetery
Gardiner, Maine
Residence32 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Alma materWestford Academy
Vassar College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known forHome economics
School meals
Spouse(s)Robert Hallowell Richards
(1844–1945) m.1875
Parent(s)Fanny Gould Taylor
Peter Swallow
Ellen Swallow Richards Signature


Early childhood

Ellen Swallow Richards 1848
Daguerreotype of Ellen Henrietta Swallow, c. 1848

Richards was born in Dunstable, Massachusetts. She was the only child of Peter Swallow (b. June 27, 1813, Dunstable; d. March 1871, Littleton, Massachusetts) and Fanny Gould Taylor (b. April 9, 1817, New Ipswich, New Hampshire), both of whom came from established families of modest means and were believers in the value of education.

Early life and education

Swallow was home-schooled in her early years. In 1859 the family moved to Westford and she attended Westford Academy.[9] Studies at the academy included mathematics, composition, and Latin, similar to other New England academies of the time. Swallow's Latin proficiency allowed her to study French and German, a rare language north of New York.[10] Because of her language skills she was much in demand as a tutor, and the income earned doing this made it possible for Swallow to further her studies.

Old Westford Academy, MA
Old Westford Academy

In March 1862, she left the academy. Two months later, in May, she developed the measles which set her back physically and interrupted her preparations to begin teaching.

Ellen Swallow Richards
Miss Ellen Henrietta Swallow, c. 1864

In the spring of 1863 the family moved to Littleton, Massachusetts, where Mr. Swallow had just purchased a larger store and expanded his business. In June 1864, Swallow, now twenty-one, took a teaching position.[9]

She did not teach again in 1865 but spent that year tending the family store and taking care of her ill mother. During the winter of 1865–66, Swallow studied and attended lectures in Worcester.[9]

College education

In September 1868 she entered Vassar College classified as a special student. Somewhat over a year later she was admitted to the senior class, graduating in 1870 with a bachelor's degree. She then earned a Master of Art's degree with a thesis on the chemical analysis of iron ore. The strongest personal influences during her college years were Maria Mitchell, the astronomer, and Professor Charles S. Farrar (1826-1908[11]), who was at the head of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.[9]

Ellen Swallow Richards Vassar 1870
Miss Ellen Henrietta Swallow, Vassar Class Picture, 1870
Signature from 1873 MIT thesis

In 1870, she wrote to Merrick and Gray, commercial chemists in Boston, asking if they would take her on as an apprentice. They replied that they were not in a position to take pupils, and that her best course was to try to enter the Institute of Technology of Boston as a student.[9] On December 10, 1870, after some discussion and a vote, the Faculty of the Institute of Technology recommend to the Corporation the admission of Miss Swallow as a special student in Chemistry.[9] Swallow thus became the first woman admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was able to continue her studies, "it being understood that her admission did not establish a precedent for the general admission of females" according to the records of the meeting of the MIT Corporation on December 14, 1870.[12] In 1873, Swallow received a Bachelor of Science degree from MIT for her thesis, "Notes on Some Sulpharsenites and Sulphantimonites from Colorado".[13] She continued her studies at MIT and would have been awarded its first advanced degree, but MIT balked at granting this distinction to a woman and did not award its first advanced degree, a Master of Science in Chemistry, until 1886.[9]

Richards served on the board of trustees of Vassar College for many years and was granted an honorary doctor of science degree in 1910.

Marriage and home

Ellen Swallow Richards 1904
Robert and Ellen Richards, 1904

On June 4, 1875, Miss Swallow married Robert H. Richards (1844-1945), chairman of the Mine Engineering Department at MIT, with whom she had worked in the mineralogy laboratory. They took up residence in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. With her husband's support she remained associated with MIT, volunteering her services and contributing $1,000 annually to the "Woman's Laboratory," a program in which her students were mostly schoolteachers, whose training had lacked laboratory work, and who wanted to perform chemical experiments and learn mineralogy.[14]


Her first post-college career was as an unpaid chemistry lecturer at MIT from 1873 to 1878.[15]

Lawrence Experiment Station - DSC03522
2011 addition to the Lawrence Experiment Station

From 1884 until her death, Swallow now Richards was an instructor at the newly founded laboratory of sanitary chemistry at the Lawrence Experiment Station, the first in the United States, headed by her former professor William R. Nichols.

In 1884 she was appointed as an instructor in sanitary chemistry at a newly formed MIT laboratory for the study of sanitation.[16]

Mrs. Richards was a consulting chemist for the Massachusetts State Board of Health from 1872 to 1875, and the Commonwealth's official water analyst from 1887 until 1897.[17] She also served as nutrition expert for the US Department of Agriculture.

Scientific experiments

Air and water quality

In the 1880s, her interests turned toward issues of sanitation, in particular air and water quality.[15] She performed a series of water tests on 40,000 samples of local waters which served as drinking water for their immediate populations. These led to the so-called "Richards' Normal Chlorine Map" which was predictive of inland water pollution in the state of Massachusetts. This map plotted the chloride concentrations in waters of the state. It illustrated the natural distribution of chlorides from the ocean. (Her survey long preceded the practice of road de-icing with chlorine derivative salts.) Her map plotted greater than 6.5 parts per million (ppm) of chloride near the coast, with Cape Cod concentrations well in excess of 10 ppm and with a near-steady decreasing gradient to less than 1 ppm about the Berkshire Hills in the extreme western end of the state. Thereby waters with chloride concentrations that deviated from the plot could be suspected of human pollution. As a result, Massachusetts established the first water-quality standards in America, and the first modern sewage treatment plant was created.[18]


Richards' master's thesis at Vassar was an analysis of the amount of vanadium in iron ore.[18] She performed numerous experiments in mineralogy, including the discovery of an insoluble residue of the rare mineral samarskite. This was later determined by other scientists to yield samarium and gadolinium. In 1879 she was recognized by the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers as their first female member.[15]

Home sanitation

Richards applied her scientific knowledge to the home. Since women were responsible for the home and family nutrition at the time, Richards felt that all women should be educated in the sciences. She wrote books about science for use in the home, such as The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning, published in 1882.[19] Her book Food Materials and Their Adulterations(1885) led to the passing of the first Pure Food and Drug Act in Massachusetts.[18]

She used her own home as a kind of experimental laboratory for healthier living through science. Concerned with air quality in her home, she moved from coal heating and cooking oil to gas. She and her husband installed fans to pull air from the home to the outside to create a cleaner air environment within the home. She also determined the water quality of the property's well through chemical testing, and to insure that waste water was not contaminating the drinking water.[19]


Richards derived the term euthenics from the Greek verb Eutheneo, Εὐθηνέω (eu, well; the, root of tithemi, to cause). To be in a flourishing state, to abound in, to prosper.—Demosthenes. To be strong or vigorous.—Herodotus. To be vigorous in body.—Aristotle.[20] And from the Greek Euthenia, Εὐθηνία. Good state of the body: prosperity, good fortune, abundance.—Herodotus.[20] The opposite of Euthenia is Penia - Πενία ("deficiency" or "poverty") the personification of poverty and need.[21]

In her book Euthenics: the science of controllable environment (1910),[22] she defined the term as the betterment of living conditions, through conscious endeavor, for the purpose of securing efficient human beings.

Vigorous debate about its exact meaning, confusion with the term eugenics, followed by the Great Depression and two world wars, were among the many factors which led to the movement never really getting the funding, nor the attention needed to put together a lasting, vastly multidisciplinary curriculum as defined by Richards. Instead, different disciplines such as Child Study became one such curriculum.

Martin Heggestad of the Mann Library notes that:

Starting around 1920, however, home economists tended to move into other fields, such as nutrition and textiles, that offered more career opportunities, while health issues were dealt with more in the hard sciences and in the professions of nursing and public health. Also, improvements in public sanitation (for example, the wider availability of sewage systems and of food inspection) led to a decline in infectious diseases and thus a decreasing need for the largely household-based measures taught by home economists.[23]

Richards was the first writer to use the term euthenics, in The Cost of Shelter (1905), with the meaning "the science of better living".[24]

Laboratory work

After her first experience as water analyst under Professor Nichols, Richards began a large, private practice in sanitary chemistry, including testing water, air and food, and the testing wallpapers and fabrics for arsenic. In 1878 and 1879 she examined a large number of staple groceries for the state. The results of her investigation were published in the first annual report of the Board of Health, Lunacy and Charity, which had succeeded the earlier Board of Health.[9]

She also served as a consultant to the Manufacturers Mutual Fire Insurance Company and in 1900 wrote the textbook Air, Water, and Food from a Sanitary Standpoint, with A. G. Woodman. Her interest in the environment led her to introduce the word ecology into English around 1892. The word had been coined by German biologist Ernst Haeckel to describe the "household of nature".

Richards' interests also included applying scientific principles to domestic situations, such as nutrition, clothing, physical fitness, sanitation, and efficient home management, creating the field of home economics. "Perhaps the fact that I am not a radical and that I do not scorn womanly duties but claim it as a privilege to clean up and sort of supervise the room and sew things is winning me stronger allies than anything else," she wrote to her parents. She published The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning: A Manual for House-keepers in 1881, designed and demonstrated model kitchens, devised curricula, and organized conferences.[25]

Women's education

Woman's Laboratory assistant instructor

Mrs. Richards appeared before the Woman's Education Association of Boston on November 11, 1875, and in an address, which made a deep impression, set forth the needs of women. She expressed the belief that the governing board of the Institute of Technology would provide space for a woman's laboratory if the Association would supply the necessary money for instruments, apparatus, and books. She said that scholarships would be indispensable.[9]

The Woman's Education Association appointed a committee to enter into discussions with the Institute of Technology, which led to the creation of the MIT Woman's Laboratory in November 1876. The Institute provided a small building, planned for a gymnasium, as the location of the Laboratory. Mrs. Richards became an unpaid assistant instructor in 1879 in chemical analysis, industrial chemistry, mineralogy, and applied biology under Professor John M. Ordway. The Woman's Education Association agreed to raise money to buy equipment for the laboratory.[9]

A new building, erected by the Institute in 1883, reserved space for all laboratory students' use, women as well as men. The original Woman's Laboratory was closed and the building demolished.

In 1884, Mrs. Richards was appointed Instructor in Sanitary Chemistry in the Institute of Technology itself, a position which she filled until the time of her death. In addition to her faculty duties and instructional work, she was also the "untitled" Dean of Women.[9]

American correspondence school instructor

In January 1876, Mrs. Richards began a long association with the first American correspondence school, the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, as an instructor, and developed its science department.[9]

In 1886, a new section promoted by Richards, Sanitary Science, was established by the Society. This was at a time when household conveniences employing water, gas, or electricity were becoming more common, but housekeepers seldom understood the dangers or difficulties inherent in using these new appliances. She saw that instruction was needed and the Society began to provide information on how to organize a house on truly scientific principles.[9]

American Association of University Women

AAUW Headquarters by Matthew Bisanz
Headquarters of the AAUW in Washington DC

Richards and Marion Talbot (Boston University class of 1880) became the "founding mothers" of what was to become the American Association of University Women (AAUW) [26] when they invited fifteen other women college graduates to a meeting at Talbot's home in Boston, on November 28, 1881. The group envisioned an organization in which women college graduates would band together to open the doors of higher education to other women and to find wider opportunities for their training. The Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA), AAUW's predecessor organization, was officially founded on January 14, 1882.[27]

Teachers' School of Science

Lucretia Crocker, along with women's clubs and other help in the Boston area, created a "Teachers' School of Science" in Back Bay at the New Museum of the Boston society. Along with Mrs. Richards, Crocker created a mineralogy course for teachers. Teacher found such education in the Boston area because of area scientist that would teach their courses.[28]

New England Kitchen of Boston

In January 1, 1890, Richards collaborated with Mary Hinman Abel (1850–1938) to found the New England Kitchen of Boston, at 142 Pleasant Street. Using volunteers of modest circumstances, they experimented with ways to prepare the most inexpensive, tasty and nutritious food.[9]

Years later, Mrs. Richards, herself, wrote in her preface to part one of The Rumford kitchen leaflets: No. 17, The Story of the New England Kitchen; Part II; A study in social economics, by Mary Abel:[29]

The story of the New England Kitchen ... is remarkable for two things: the new and valuable information which has been acquired, as the result of the daily work of the Kitchen, and the short time which has sufficed to put the enterprise on a business basis.

It is well to emphasize the causes of this success, that the lessons in social science and practical philanthropy be not lost. A large part of the credit is due ... to Mrs. Abel's hard work[.] [S]tarting the New England Kitchen ... was ... an experiment to determine the successful conditions of preparing, by scientific methods, from the cheaper food materials, nutritious and palatable dishes, which should find a ready demand at paying prices.

Mrs. Abel would doubtless give as the principal secret of her success, that she had everything necessary for the experiments, without giving a thought to the cost. ... In the New England Kitchen, the selection of the apparatus and material and the employment of labor have been without restriction. Without this freedom to carry on the experiments as seemed wise and prudent, the results detailed in the accompanying report could not have been attained.

The philanthropy of the scheme rests in the experimental stage of the development of the New England Kitchen. Whether the business can in the future take care of itself to the profit of those who conduct it remains to be seen ; but, in any event, kitchens of this kind cannot fail to be of great advantage to multitudes in moderate circumstances, who have hitherto been unable to buy good, nutritious, and tasteful cooked food.

Rumford Kitchen

Count Rumford frontispiece of the Rumford Kitchen leaflets

In 1893, when Richards was in charge of the Rumford Kitchen at the World's Fair in Chicago, she accepted the added work and responsibility of arranging an exhibition of the work of Studies at Home.[9]

The opening statement of the Guide to the Rumford Kitchen: An Exhibit made by the State of Massachusetts in connection with the Bureau of Hygiene and Sanitation (World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893) by General Francis A. Walker explains:[29]

The exhibit known as the Rumford Kitchen is the outgrowth of the work, in the application of the principles of chemistry to the science of cooking, which has for three years been carried on as an educational agency by Mrs. Robert H. Richards and Mrs. Dr. John J. Abel, with pecuniary assistance from certain public-spirited citizens of Boston.

The Massachusetts Board of World's Fair Managers, ... believing that such practical demonstration of the usefulness of domestic science could not fail to be of advantage to multitudes of visitors to the Columbian Exposition, have invited the ladies named to open the Rumford Kitchen as a part of the exhibit of Massachusetts in connection with the Bureau of Hygiene and Sanitation.

In order to reduce, in some degree, the expenses of this exhibit, the food cooked in the Rumford Kitchen will be sold under a concession from the administration of the Exposition ; but it should be understood that this is not a money-making exhibit ; that nothing is cooked for the sake of being sold ; and that the enterprise is to be regarded as absolutely a scientific and educational one.

The purpose of the exhibit in the Rumford Kitchen is two-fold : First, to commemorate the services to the cause of domestic science rendered by Count Rumford one hundred years ago[;] ... second, to serve as an incentive to further work in the same direction, as he expressed it," to provoke men to investigation," "to cause doubt, that first step toward knowledge."

The first commercially available "modern" kitchen ranges began to appear about 1800, they were the invention of an American named Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count von Rumford.

American Public School Lunch Program

A first, major program was started in some Boston high schools in 1894 to provide nutritional meals at low prices to children who would not normally have them. Due in large part to Ellen Richards and Edward Atkinson, the New England Kitchen ran the program as a 'private enterprise' that paid for itself many times over. The lunches never became effective instruments for teaching the New Nutrition the founders had envisaged. But, because the program provided nutritious meals children would otherwise not have, it became the main justification for similar lunch programs in other cities."[30]

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the National School Lunch Program to provide low-cost or free school lunch meals to qualified students through subsidies to schools.[31] The program was established as a way to prop up food prices by absorbing farm surpluses, while at the same time providing food to school age children. It was named after Richard Russell, Jr.[32]

Lake Placid Conference

Early in September, 1899, trustees of the Lake Placid Club (Morningside, New York) thought it was the right time to bring together those most interested in home science, or household economics and sent out many invitations for the Lake Placid Conference scheduled to take place Sept. 19-25, 1899. Melvil Dewey, one of the club's trustees, personally invited Richards to attend. She gave a lecture on standards of living and was elected chairman of the conference.[33]

American Home Economics Association

In 1908, Richards was chosen as the first president of the newly formed American Home Economics Association, which was renamed the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1994. She also founded and funded the Association's periodical, the Journal of Home Economics, which began publication in 1909. It was renamed the Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1994 when the Association changed its name.[9]

Her books and writings on this topic include Food Materials and their Adulterations (1886); Conservation by Sanitation; The Chemistry of Cooking and Cleaning; The Cost of Living (1899); Air, Water, and Food (1900); The Cost of Food; The Cost of Shelter; The Art of Right Living; The Cost of Cleanness; Sanitation in Daily Life (1907); and Euthenics, the Science of Controllable Environment (1910). Some of these went through several editions.


Richards died on March 30, 1911 at her home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts after suffering with angina.[1] She is buried in the family cemetery in Gardiner, Maine.


Ellen Swallow Richards Residence
Ellen H. Swallow Richards House Boston MA 02
Ellen Swallow Richards is located in Massachusetts
Ellen Swallow Richards
Location32 Eliot St., Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°18′41.5″N 71°7′3.5″W / 42.311528°N 71.117639°WCoordinates: 42°18′41.5″N 71°7′3.5″W / 42.311528°N 71.117639°W
Area0.2 acres (0.081 ha)
Architectural styleItalianate
NRHP reference #92001874[34]
Added to NRHPMarch 31, 1992
  • The Ellen Swallow Richards House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.[35]
  • In 1925, Vassar College, based around alumna Richards' ideas, began an interdisciplinary curriculum of euthenics studies located in their recently constructed Minnie Cumnock Blodgett Hall of Euthenics, which was officially dedicated in 1929.[36]
  • In her honor, MIT designated a room in the main building for the use of female students and, on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Richard's graduation in 1973, established the Ellen Swallow Richards professorship for distinguished female faculty members.
  • In 1993, Richards was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
  • In 2011, she was listed as number eight on the MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas from MIT with the tag line, "Drink up",[37] in reference to her work on assuring the safety of the domestic water supply.
  • She is commemorated on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[38]
  • Swallow Union Elementary School in her hometown of Dunstable, Massachusetts is named in her honor.[39]

Selected works

  • Richards, Ellen (1898) [1885]. Food materials and their adulterations. Boston: Estes and Lauriat, (1885); Home Science Publishing Co. (iv, 183).
  • Richards, Ellen (1899). Plain words about food: the Rumford kitchen leaflets 1899. Boston: Home Science Publishing Co. (176, [10] leaves of plates).
  • Richards, Ellen (1904). First lessons in food and diet (1st ed.). Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
  • Richards, Ellen (1905). The Cost of Shelter (1st ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons; [etc.] ISBN 1414230125.
  • Richards, Ellen (1906?). Meat and drink. Boston: Health-Education League.
  • Richards, Ellen (c.1908). The Efficient worker. Boston: Health-Education League.
  • Richards, Ellen (c.1908). Health in labor camps. Boston: Health-Education League.
  • Richards, Ellen (1908 or 1909). Tonics and stimulants. Boston: Health-Education League.
  • Richards, Ellen (1909) [1900]. Air, water, and food: from a sanitary standpoint (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons, etc. with Alpheus G. Woodman.
  • Richards, Ellen (1912) [1910]. Euthenics: The Science of Controllable Environment : A Plea for Better Conditions As a First Step Toward Higher Human Efficiency (2nd ed.). Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows. ISBN 0405098278.
  • Sumida, Kazuko, ed. (2007) Collected Works of Ellen H. Swallow Richards. (5 vols.) Tokyo: Edition Synapse. ISBN 978-4-86166-048-1

Manuscript collections

Richards's manuscripts are contained in various collections throughout the United States and beyond. Aside from those listed below, manuscripts can be found within collections related to the organizations Richards was associated with, such as the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, whose manuscripts are housed in several collections at Cornell University, Iowa State University, etc.[40][41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Mrs. Ellen H. Richards Dead. Head of Social Economics in Massachusetts Institute of Technology" (PDF). The New York Times. March 31, 1911. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  2. ^ "Richards, Ellen Swallow, Residence". National Historic Landmarks Program. April 7, 1991. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  3. ^ Mozans, H. J. (1913). Woman in science. London: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 217. ISBN 0-268-01946-0.
  4. ^ "Campus Life: M.I.T.; Salute to Women At a School Once 99.6% Male". The New York Times. April 7, 1991. Retrieved 2014-03-08. When Ellen Swallow Richards came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in January 1871, she was the first woman to attend the institute, then based in Boston.
  5. ^ "Ellen Swallow Richards". Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics.
  6. ^ Bowden, Mary Ellen (1997). Chemical achievers : the human face of the chemical sciences. Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation. pp. 156–158. ISBN 9780941901123.
  7. ^ "Ellen H. Swallow Richards". Science History Institute. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ Richardson, Barbara (2002). "Ellen Swallow Richards: 'Humanistic Oekologist,' 'Applied Sociologist,' and the Founding of Sociology". American Sociologist. 33 (3): 21–58. doi:10.1007/s12108-002-1010-6.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Hunt, Caroline Louisa (1912). The life of Ellen H. Richards (1st ed.). Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
  10. ^ Kennedy, June W. (2006). Westford Recollections of Days Gone By: Recorded Interviews 1974-1975 A Millennium Update (1st ed.). Bloomington, IN: Author House. ISBN 1-4259-2388-7. LCCN 2006904814.
  11. ^ Vassar Historian. "Charles Farrar". Vassar Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  12. ^ Ellen Swallow Richards & MIT: Institute Archives & Special Collections: MIT
  13. ^ Notes on Some Sulpharsenites and Sulphantimonites from Colorado
  14. ^ Rossiter, Margaret W. (1982). Women Scientists in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 68. ISBN 0801824435.
  15. ^ a b c Linda Zierdt-Warshaw (2000). American Women in Technology. ISBN 9781576070727.
  16. ^ Marilyn Bailey Ogilvie (1986). Women in science: antiquity through the nineteenth century. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. ISBN 026215031X.
  17. ^ "Ellen H. Swallow Richards (1842–1911) - American Chemical Society". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  18. ^ a b c Elizabeth H. Oakes (2002). International Encyclopedia of Women Scientists (Facts on File Science Library). Facts on File. ISBN 9780816043811.
  19. ^ a b Clarke, Robert (1973). Ellen Swallow. Chicago: Follett Pub. Co. ISBN 0695803883.
  20. ^ a b Richards, Ellen H. Swallow (1912) [1910]. Euthenics: The Science of Controllable Environment : A Plea for Better Conditions As a First Step Toward Higher Human Efficiency (2nd ed.). Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows. ISBN 0405098278.
  21. ^ Theoi Project - Penia
  22. ^ Ellen H. Richards (1910). Euthenics, the science of controllable environment. Boston: Whitcomb & Barrows.
  23. ^ HEARTH Library-Cornell University
  24. ^ Grandy, John K. (2006). Birx, H.J., ed. Euthenics. Encyclopedia of Anthropology. 5 Vols. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. doi:10.4135/9781412952453. ISBN 9781412952453.
  25. ^ Ellen Swallow Richards: Rumford Kitchen: Institute Archives & Special Collections: MIT
  26. ^ "Our History". AAUW.org. AAUW. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  27. ^ "Association of Collegiate Alumnae Records". five colleges.edu. Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  28. ^ Kohlstedt, Sally Gregory. (September 2005). Nature, Not Books: Scientists and the Origins of the Nature-Study Movement in the 1890s. Isis, Vol. 96, No. 3. pp. 324–352, p. 328.
  29. ^ a b Richards, Ellen H. (1899). Plain words about food: the Rumford kitchen leaflets, 1899 (1st ed.). Boston: Rockwell and Churchill Press.
  30. ^ Levenstein, Harvey (1988). Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 116.
  31. ^ Copy of the School Lunch Act As Enacted in 1946, Federal Education Policy History website
  32. ^ The National School Lunch Program Background and Development
  33. ^ Richards, Ellen H., ed. (1901–1908), Lake Placid Conference proceedings, Lake Placid Conference, Lake Placid, NY: American Home Economics Association
  34. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  35. ^ National Historic Landmark profile Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, National Park Service. Accessed 2013-09-03.
  36. ^ Vassar Historian. "The Vassar Summer Institute". Vassar Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  37. ^ Globe Staff Writers (May 15, 2011). "The MIT 150". boston.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  38. ^ "Back Bay West". Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
  39. ^ "Swallow Union Elementary School". About Us - Swallow Union Elementary School.
  40. ^ "Guide to the Collection on Ellen Swallow Richards, MC.0659" (PDF). MIT, Cambridge, MA: MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections.
  41. ^ "Ellen Swallow Richards Papers, 1882-1910". Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA: Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections.

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Richards, Ellen Swallow" . New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.

Further reading

  • Pursell, Carroll W. (1991). Technology in America : a history of individuals and ideas (2. ed., 2. pr. ed.). Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.]: The MIT Pr. ISBN 0262660490.
  • Shearer, Benjamin F. (1997). Notable women in the physical sciences : a biographical dictionary (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. ISBN 9780313293030.
  • Vare, Ethlie Ann; Hangerman, Jennifer (1992). Adventurous spirit : a story about Ellen Swallow Richards. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books. ISBN 9780876147337.
  • Swallow, Pamela C. (July 2014). The Remarkable Life and Career of Ellen Swallow Richards: Pioneer in Science and Technology. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1118923839.
  • Chapman, Sasha. "The Woman Who Gave Us the Science of Normal Life". Nautil.us. Nautilus. Retrieved 24 March 2018.

External links

1870 in science

The year 1870 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.


Ellen is a female given name, a diminutive of Elizabeth, Eleanor and Helen. Ellen is the 609th most popular name in the U.S. and the 17th in Sweden (2004).

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Ellen Craswell (1932-2008), American politician

Ellen ten Damme (born 1967), Dutch actress and musician

Ellen DeGeneres (born 1958), American comedian, actress, and talk-show host

Ellen van Dijk (born 1987), Dutch road and track cyclist

Ellen Dissanayake (born c.1935), American anthropologist and author

Ellen Albertini Dow (1913–2015), American actress and drama coach

Ellen Elzerman (born 1971), Dutch swimmer

Ellen Russell Emerson (1837-1907), American author, ethnologist

Ellen Estes (born 1978), American water polo player

Ellen Foley (born 1951), American singer and actress

Ellen Fries (1855-1900), Swedish feminist and writer, first woman to be awarded a PhD in Sweden

Ellen Gallagher (born 1965), American artist

Ellen Geer (born 1941), American actress, acting teacher and theatre director

Ellen Gilchrist (born 1935), American novelist, short story writer, and poet

Ellen Glasgow (1873–1975), American novelist

Ellen Greene (born 1951), American singer and actress

Ellen Day Hale (1855–1940), American impressionist painter and printmake

Ellen 't Hoen (born 1960), Dutch lawyer and Médecins sans Frontières director

Ellen Hollman (born 1983), American actress

Ellen Hogerwerf (born 1989), Dutch rower

Ellen Hoog (born 1986), Dutch field hockey player

Ellen Horn (born 1951), Norwegian ctress, theater director, and politician

Ellen Jansen (born 1992), Dutch footballer

Ellen Jens (born 1941), Dutch television director and producer

Ellen Johnson (born 1955), American civil rights activist

Ellen Kaarma (1928-1973), Estonian actress

Ellen Key (1849-1926), Swedish feminist writer and suffragette

Ellen Kooi (born 1962), Dutch artist and photographer,

Ellen Kuipers (born 1971), Dutch field hockey player

Ellen J. Kullman (born 1956), American business executive, CEO of DuPont

Ellen Kuzwayo (1914–2006), South African women's rights activist and politician

Ellen van Langen (born 1966), Dutch middle distance runner

Ellen Liiger (1918–1987), Estonian actress

Ellen MacArthur (born 1976), British yachtswoman

Ellen van Maris (born 1957), Dutch bodybuilder

Ellen McIlwaine (born 1945), American musician

Ellen McLain (born 1952), American voice actress

Ellen Meijers (born c.1971), Dutch video game music composer

Ellen Muth (born 1981), American actress

Ellen Nikolaysen (born 1951), Norwegian actress

Ellen Nisbeth (born 1987), Swedish violist

Ellen Ochoa (born 1958), American engineer and astronaut

Ellen Osiier (1890–1962), Danish Olympic fencing foil champion

Ellen Page (born 1987), Canadian actress

Ellen Pao (born 1970), American lawyer, former CEO of Reddit

Ellen Perez (1868–1954), Australian tennis player

Ellen Petri (born 1982), Belgian beauty pageant

Ellen Pompeo (born 1969), American actress

Ellen Preis (Ellen Müller-Preis) (1912–2007), German-born Austrian Olympic champion foil fencer

Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911), American industrial and environmental chemist

Ellen Roche (born 1979), Brazilian actress and model

Ellen Roosevelt (1868–1954), American tennis player

Ellen Sauerbrey (born 1937), American politician

Ellen Browning Scripps (1836–1932), American journalist and philanthropist

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 1938), President of Liberia

Ellen Tauscher (born 1951), American politician, Under Secretary of State

Ellen Terry (1847-1928), English stage actress

Ellen Travolta (born 1940), American actress

Ellen von Unwerth (born 1954), German photographer and director,

Ellen Van Loy (born 1980), Belgian cyclo-cross cyclist

Ellen Venker (born 1983), Dutch softball player

Ellen Vogel (1922–2015), Dutch actress

Ellen Voorhees, American computer scientist

Ellen van der Weijden-Bast (born 1971), Dutch water polo player

Ellen G. White (1827-1915), American co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and author

Ellen Willmott (1858–1934), English horticulturalist

Ellen Axson Wilson (1860–1914), American first lady

Ellen Wilson (born 1976), American judoka

Ellen van Wolde (born 1954), Dutch biblical scholar

Ellen Wong (born 1985), Canadian actress

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (born 1939), American classical music composer

Ellen Swallow Richards House

The Ellen H. Swallow Richards House is a National Historic Landmark house at 32 Eliot Street in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. It was the home of Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) from 1876 (shortly after her marriage to Robert Hallowell Richards) until her death. Richards was the first woman to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was its first female instructor. She introduced revolutionary ideas about home sanitation, and conducted pioneering work (some of it in this house) that led to the establishment of the field of home economics. The house itself was regularly altered as a consequence of her research, and was used by Richards as a consumer product testing laboratory. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

History of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The history of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can be traced back to the 1861 incorporation of the "Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Society of Natural History" led primarily by William Barton Rogers.

History of women in engineering

The history of women in engineering predates the development of the profession of engineering. Before engineering was recognized as a formal profession, women with engineering skills often sought recognition as inventors, such as Hypatia of Alexandria (350 or 370–415 AD), who is credited with the invention of the hydrometer. During the Islamic Golden Period from the 8th century until the 15th century there were many Muslim women who were inventors and engineers, such as the 10th-century astronomer Mariam al-Asturlabi. In the 19th century, women who performed engineering work often had academic training in mathematics or science. Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was privately schooled in mathematics before beginning her collaboration with Charles Babbage on his analytical engine that would earn her the designation of the "first computer programmer." Hertha Marks Ayrton (1854–1923), a British engineer and inventor studied mathematics at Cambridge in the 1880s. Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu (1887–1973) is one of the first female engineers in Europe. In the early years of the twentieth century, a few women were admitted to engineering programs, but they were generally looked upon as curiosities by their male counterparts.

Alice Perry was the first woman in Europe to graduate with a degree in engineering in 1906 from Queen's College, Galway. Elisa Leonida Zamfirescu, a Romanian engineer graduated from the Technical University of Berlin in 1912. The entry of the United States into World War II created a serious shortage of engineering talent as men were drafted into the armed forces. The GE on-the-job engineering training for women with degrees in mathematics and physics, and the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Program had "Curtiss-Wright Cadettes" ("Engineering Cadettes", e.g., Rosella Fenton). The company partnered with Cornell, Penn State, Purdue, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas, RPI, and Iowa State University to create an engineering curriculum that eventually enrolled over 600 women. The course lasted ten months and focused primarily on aircraft design and production.Kathleen McNulty (1921–2006), was selected to be one of the original programmers of the ENIAC. Georgia Tech began to admit women engineering students in 1952. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had graduated its first female student, Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) in 1873. The École Polytechnique in Paris first began to admit women students in 1972. The number of BA/BS degrees in engineering awarded to women in the U.S. increased by 45 percent between 1980 and 1994. However, from 1984–1994, the number of women graduating with a BA/BS degree in computer science decreased by 23 percent.

Julia Southard Lee

Julia Southard Lee (29 September 1897-?) was an American textile chemist known for her teaching positions and research on protein fibers and textile quality.

List of National Historic Landmarks in Boston

This is a list of National Historic Landmarks in Boston, Massachusetts. It includes 57 properties and districts designated as National Historic Landmarks in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. Another 131 National Historic Landmarks are located in the remaining parts of the state of Massachusetts.

List of environmental engineers

Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies to evaluate the significance of such hazards, advise on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. Environmental engineers also design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems as well as address local and worldwide environmental issues such as the effects of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution and air pollution from automobile exhausts and industrial sources.


The MIT150 is a list published by the Boston Globe, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2011, listing 150 of the most significant innovators, inventions or ideas from MIT, its alumni, faculty, and related people and organizations in the 150 year history of the institute.

The top 30 innovators and inventions on the list are:

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Eric Lander, team leader for sequencing one-third of the Human Genome

William Shockley, inventor of the solid-state transistor

Ray Tomlinson, inventor of the "@" symbol use in email addresses

Phillip A. Sharp, founder of Biogen Idec

Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson, founders of Digital Equipment Corp.

Helen Greiner and Colin Angle, founders of iRobot Corp.

Ellen Swallow Richards, nutrition expert, and the first woman admitted to MIT

Amar Bose, founder of Bose Corporation

Ivan Getting, founder of Aerospace Corp., co-inventor of GPS

Salvador Luria, father of modern biology

Joseph Jacobson, co-founder of E Ink

Dan Bricklin, Bob Frankston, inventors of VisiCalc

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive

Daniel Lewin, F. Thomson Leighton, co-founders of Akamai

Vannevar Bush, science advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, founder of Raytheon, father of the National Science Foundation

Pietro Belluschi, dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Leonard Adleman, inventors of RSA cryptography

Charles Draper, inventor of the first inertial guidance system

Herbert Kalmus, Daniel Comstock, cofounders of Technicolor

John Dorrance, inventor of Campbell Soup

David Baltimore, Nobel laureate

Robert Weinberg, cofounder of the Whitehead Institute

William Thompson Sedgwick, founder of the Harvard School of Public Health

Alfred P. Sloan, CEO of General Motors

William Hewlett, cofounder of Hewlett Packard

Marc Raibert, inventor of BigDog

Hugh Herr, founder of iWalk and head of the Biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab

Hoyt C. Hottel, oil industry pioneer

Robert Swanson, cofounder of Genentech

Marion Talbot

Marion Talbot (July 31, 1858 – October 20, 1948) was Dean of Women at the University of Chicago from 1895 to 1925, and an influential leader in the higher education of women in the United States during the early 20th century. In 1882, while still a student, she co-founded the American Association of University Women with her mentor Ellen Swallow Richards. During her long career at the University of Chicago, Talbot fought tenaciously and often successfully to improve support for women students and faculty, and against efforts to restrict equal access to educational opportunities.

Marjorie Pierce

Marjorie Pierce (1900 – December 7, 1999) was an American architect whose practice centered in Massachusetts.

Mary Abel

Mary Abel (1850–1938) is known for her work in home economics and nutrition which mainly revolved around the publication of pamphlets and her book, Successful Family Life on the Moderate Income.

Minnie Cumnock Blodgett

Minnie Cumnock Blodgett (1862–1931) graduated from Vassar College in 1884, later becoming a trustee (1917–1931). She is the mother of Katharine Blodgett Hadley (VC '20), who was also a Vassar trustee (1942–1954), and was chairman of the Board (1945–1952).Her husband, John W. Blodgett, built their estate, which they named Brookby, where they made their Grand Rapids home.

National Women's Hall of Fame

The National Women's Hall of Fame is an American institution created in 1969 by a group of people in Seneca Falls, New York, the location of the 1848 women's rights convention.The National Women's Hall of Fame inducts distinguished American women through a rigorous national honors selection process involving representatives of the nation's important organizations and areas of expertise. Nominees are selected on the basis of the changes they created that affect the social, economic or cultural aspects of society; the significant national or global impact and results of change due to their achievement; and the enduring value of their achievements or changes. Induction ceremonies are held every odd- numbered year in the fall, with the names of the women to be honored announced earlier in the spring, usually during March, Women's History Month.

Richards House

Richards House may refer to:

in the United States(by state, then city/town)

Richards Mansion (Wheat Ridge, Colorado), listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in Jefferson County, Colorado

Richards Mansion (Georgetown, Delaware), NRHP-listed

Richards-Hamm House, Glendale, Kentucky, listed on the NRHP in Hardin County, Kentucky

Richards-Murray House, Glendale, Kentucky, listed on the NRHP in Hardin County, Kentucky

Laura Richards House, Gardiner, Maine, listed on the NRHP in Kennebec County, Maine

Thomas Richards House, Rising Sun, Maryland, NRHP-listed

Theodore W. Richards House, Cambridge, Massachusetts, NRHP-listed

Ellen Swallow Richards House, Jamaica Plain, Boston Massachusetts, NRHP-listed

James Lorin Richards House, Newton, Massachusetts, NRHP-listed

Alfred H. Richards House, Quincy, Massachusetts, NRHP-listed

Claflin-Richards House, Wenham, Massachusetts, NRHP-listed

Oconee Station and Richards House, Walhalla, South Carolina, NRHP-listed

Richards Cabins, Faith, South Dakota, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Perkins County, South Dakota

Newton Copeland Richards House, Memphis, Tennessee, listed on the NRHP in Shelby County, Tennessee

Richards-Sewall House, Urbana, Ohio, NRHP-listed

Richards House (Farmington, Utah), listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Davis County, Utah

Zalmon Richards House, Washington, D.C., NRHP-listed

Robert Hallowell Richards

Robert Hallowell Richards (August 26, 1844 – March 27, 1945) was an American mining engineer, metallurgist, and educator, born at Gardiner, Maine.In 1868, with the first class to leave the institution, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and there he taught for 46 years, becoming professor of mineralogy and assaying in 1871, head of the department of mining engineering in 1873, and in 1884 professor also of metallurgy. The laboratories which he established at the Institute were the first of their kind in the world. He retired in 1914.

Richards invented a jet aspirator for chemical and physical laboratories and a prism for stadia surveying. But it was in the field of ore dressing that he became especially distinguished. He determined the curves of material settling in water, thereby establishing the fundamental principles of sorting ore by means of jigs and other machines. He invented separators for Lake Superior copper, Virginia iron, and three for ores of the Western United States. Richards served as president of the American Institute of Mining Engineers in 1886.

He was author of more than 100 monographs and articles, but his most notable work is a monumental treatise, Ore Dressing (four volumes, 1903–09). He published also a Text Book of Ore Dressing (1909).

Richards married Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman graduate of MIT, on June 4, 1875. They remained married until her death in 1911. Richards married Lillian Jameson Richards (b.1866) on June 8, 1912, remaining married until her death on Mar. 31, 1924.

Susan Solomon

Susan Solomon (born January 19,1956 in Chicago) is an atmospheric chemist, working for most of her career at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2011, Solomon joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she serves as the Ellen Swallow Richards Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science. Solomon, with her colleagues, was the first to propose the chlorofluorocarbon free radical reaction mechanism that is the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole.Solomon is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences, and the French Academy of Sciences. In 2008, Solomon was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Swallow (surname)

Swallow is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Andrew Swallow (born 1987), Australian rules footballer

Barry Swallow (born 1942), British footballer

David Swallow Australian rules footballer, brother of Andrew

Ellen Swallow Richards née Ellen Swallow (1842–1911), American chemist

Emily Swallow (born 1979), American actress

Ian Swallow, British cricketer

James Swallow, British writer

Jerod Swallow, American figure skater

Jodie Swallow, British triathlete

John C. Swallow (born 1923), English oceanographer

Ray Swallow (born 1935), British cricketer and footballer

Ricky Swallow (born 1974), Australian sculptor

Roger Swallow (born 1946), British music producer

Silas C. Swallow (1839–1930), American preacher and politician

Steve Swallow (born 1940), American jazz bassist and composer

Thomas Messinger Drown

Thomas Messinger Drown (March 19, 1842 – November 17, 1904) was the fourth University President of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States. He was also an analytical chemist and metallurgist.

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