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Louise Stanley, 1883-1954

Photo of Louise Stanley
University Archives, Collection C:1/141/6

Louise Stanley was appointed Instructor of Home Economics at the University of Missouri, in 1907, after completing a Master of Arts at Columbia University. In 1911, Stanley completed her Ph.D. at Yale University and became Professor and Chair of Home Economics at the University of Missouri that same year. She first began working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1914 as a special agent in the Office of Experiment Stations conducting a survey of home economics instruction.

Stanley left the University in 1923 when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Henry C. Wallace appointed her as chief of the newly established Bureau of Home Economics. It was during the later 1920s and early 1930s that Stanley conducted some of her most important studies on the proper nutritional elements of the human diet. Data supplied by the Bureau led to the launch of a national campaign by the USDA to improve American diets.

The scope of Stanley's research expanded in 1943 when she was appointed as Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Agricultural Research Administration. There her research extended to the study of diets throughout the world, but most extensively in Latin America, where she worked to improve diets with the introduction of new foods and improved processing and distribution methods.

Louise Stanley's contributions were recognized by the University of Missouri both before and after her death in 1954. In 1940, she became the first woman to receive an Honorary Doctorate (LL.D.), and in 1961, a new building constructed for the School of Home Economics was named in her honor.

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