Home Economics, 1918-1946
b. 1880, Michigan
d. 1958, Amherst, Mass.
Edna L. Skinner was born in Michigan in 1880 and educated at the Michigan State Normal College (BEd) and the Teachers College at Columbia University (BS and MA). After six years teaching at the Teachers College, 1908-1912, she was hired to head the Department of Household Science at James Milliken University in Illinois, and taught two summers at the University of California. In 1918, while Director of Homemaking at Pine Manor College in Wellesley, she was hired to become Head of the new program in Home Economics at Massachusetts Agricultural College by its ninth President, Kenyon L. Butterfield, a strong proponent of women's education.
Under Skinner's leadership, the program became a department in 1924, a division in 1930, and a separate school in 1945, with Skinner as Dean. Throughout her 27-year career at Massachusetts, she also served as Advisor of Women. She retired in 1946 just as work was about to begin on her long-cherished and hard-fought-for goal of a single building to house the Home Economics program. Skinner died in Amherst in 1958. Skinner Hall is named in her honor.