Whitney Hale

By

College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Stories: Mary E. Sweeny - A Leader at 'Home' and Abroad

Published: Jul 30, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 30, 2013) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 62nd of 150 weekly installments remembers the accomplishments of home economics and family relations expert Dean Mary E. Sweeny.

 

Mary E. Sweeny was an internationally known authority on home economics and family relations. Sweeny was connected with UK's Department of Home Economics (now the School of Human Environmental Sciences) since she earned her postgraduate degree from Columbia University in 1912. Upon arriving at the university, Sweeny contributed greatly to the rapid growth of home economics and her untiring efforts were given credit for the establishment of the Department of Home Economics to the eventual College of Home Economics. 

 

Before she became dean of the college, Sweeny was a specialist in home economics extension for five years — this was done in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and the College of Agriculture (now College of Agriculture, Food and Environment) at UK. Sweeny contributed greatly to the betterment of general living conditions in rural areas, to the introduction of hot school lunches in rural schools, and to the addition of courses in cooking and sewing in elementary and high schools in the state of Kentucky. 

 

Sweeny was head of the Department of Home Economics from 1913-1916, dean of the college from 1916-1917, and again head through 1920. At that point she left to become director of the Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit, Mich., where she worked for the next 25 years. Sweeny spent most of her life studying, teaching and writing about nutrition and child growth.

 

During World War I, Mary and her sister, Sunshine Sweeny, went overseas as canteen workers with the American Army in France and the Army of Occupation in Germany.

 

In 1946, Sweeny went to India where she was a visiting lecturer and adviser to all women's groups in bettering child conditions. The trip was arranged by Agricultural Missions Inc. and Sweeny was invited by the All India Women’s Conference. She had previously spent three months in India during 1939, where she became interested in Indian customs, government and opportunities. Sweeny spent a total of 15 months in the country and did extensive research. After her work in India, she went to China where she spent five months with schools that provided training for child welfare workers or housed home economics departments.

 

In 1958, the UK Home Management House was named for Mary Sweeny. The Mary E. Sweeny house at 644 Maxwelton Court (now the Jessie Harris Psychology Services Center) was opened for senior students in the home economics program. Students lived in each of the houses for a period of six weeks, and then rotated. Gas or electric appliances were used in the kitchens to enable them to become acquainted with the different types of cooking facilities. The houses were meant to represent what was typically being done in houses of the day. 

 

Sweeny was a past president of the American Home Economics Association (now the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences) and an honorary vice president of the Biochemistry Society. A native of Fayette County, she was the daughter of Dr. W. O. Sweeny and Margaret Prewitt Sweeny. Mary Sweeny passed away in 1968.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

mary_sweeny_-_headshot.jpgmary_sweeny.jpg
September
 
 
1
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Receive 80% Refund
Suicide Prevention: Raising Awareness & Sharing Our Stories
Welcome Coffee
Game Show
Tue
2
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
3
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Rosemary's Baby
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Pitch Perfect 2
Adjusting to College
Adjusting to College
Kickoff Football Season Grill Out
Thu
4
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Akira
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Whiplash
To Live in the Borderlands: A Household Perspective on Frontier Politics from the Middle Jequetepeque Valley, Peru
Fri
5
Go Swing Dancing!
Sat
6
 
Sun
7
Labor Day
Mon
8
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ivory Tower
Tue
9
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
10
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Selena
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Jurassic World
Adjusting to College
Terrace Time Out
Thu
11
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Great Beauty
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Predator
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Friday Swing Dance Lessons - Free!
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Fri
12
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sculptors On Paper
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
13
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Sun
14
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Superhero
Mon
15
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Women's Forum Board Meeting
Southern Sirens Concert
Tue
16
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Wed
17
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
Adjusting to College
Thu
18
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Outdoor Installation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Dark Girls
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Pokémon Movie
LexPhil Pre-Concert Buffet
Curator Tour with Stuart Horodner
Fri
19
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Sat
20
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
LexHop
Sun
21
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Finger Painting
Mon
22
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Tue
23
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Last Day to Receive 50% Refund
Thank-A-Donor Day
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Pinterest Party I
Wed
24
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
2 Day Business Internship & Career Fair
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Wild Tales
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Mad Max: Fury Road
Adjusting to College
Thu
25
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
The Late Night Film Series Presents - All.I.Can
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Nightcrawler
Fri
26
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Swing Dance Lessons - Free
Arts Writing Workshop
Sat
27
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Sun
28
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Paint the Town Blue/Banner Competition
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Mandala
Mon
29
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wildcat Wellness Relaxation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Kitty Karnival
Tue
30
Bottoms Up: A Sculpture Survey
Nina Katchadourian: Collection Interventions
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wayne Koestenbaum: Unfamiliar Grammar
Wed
 
 
 

Thu, 09/03/2015

Repeats every week until Fri Sep 11 2015 .
Fri, 09/04/2015

Reset Page