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

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April
 
 
1
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Baseball vs. Louisville
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Pinterest Party #2
Tue
2
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Men's Tennis vs. Illinois
UK Softball vs. Louisville
UK Men's Tennis vs. Northern Kentucky
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Student Health Advisory Council Meeting
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
Selecting the Right Tree for Your Landscape Class 1
#TrendingTopics: It's Not Easy Being Green
Wed
3
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Toastmasters
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Thu
4
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
UK Baseball vs. Florida
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Creoles Topopholia
Religion & Politics in Anxious States
Exploring, Remixing, Analyzing: Teaching History with Digital Media
Cormac O'Grada - "The Nature of Famines"
"The Nature of Famines," Committee on Social Theory Public Lecture
Building a Rain Garden: Collaborative Effort with UK
Fri
5
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Bluegrass Bazaar
Sat
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Ride the Legacy
UK Men's Tennis vs. Vanderbilt
Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Mon
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Job Club: Research Your Target Organization Before the Interview: What to Know and How to Find Out
#UK Kicks Butts Day
UK Softball vs. Wright State
Dine. Discover. Decide.: Connecting students to alumni in 3D!
Earth Days in the Bluegrass and the Late Night Film Series Present: Gasland Part II, A Bike-In Movie
UK Baseball vs. Morehead State
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
9
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
UK Men's Tennis vs. Ohio State
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Wellness On Wheels
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Overview of Nursing Home Care
Spring (Bike) Fever Twitter Chat
UK Softball vs. Mississippi Valley
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
UK Men's Tennis vs. Morehead State
Wed
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents American Hustle
UK Toastmasters
Bike-Through Resource Fair
Undergraduate Research Group Advising Session: April General
Presentation by Ladino Rockstar, Sarah Aroeste
Mountain Biking for Beginners Clinic
LNFS presents The Mexican Suitcase
Mr. PharmD
Performance by Ladino Rockstar, Sara Aroeste
Thu
11
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Last Day to Drop a Spring 2014 Course
LNFS presents Boogie Nights
Car-Free Day
What Are They? Some Hidden Forms of the Copula in Old Irish
UK Men's Tennis vs. South Carolina
UK Baseball vs. Missouri
LNFS presents Loose Cannons
Fri
12
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
Arboretum Volunteer Training and Orientation
Taste of Africa
Dramatic Presentation -"Las Voces de los Apalaches"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
13
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
UK Men's Tennis vs. Florida
UK Men's Tennis vs. Murray State
Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Therapeutic Chair Massage
Mon
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Superheroes On and Off the Page
Parenting Connection Group
Farmer's MarCat & Craft Fair
Student-Teacher-Student Exhibit
Tue
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Blue Velvet
Inequality in the US: Consequences
Reframing Stress: Do You Know Your Choices?
Best Practices for Tree and Shrub Pruning Class 3
Cooking Class: For True Beginners
Pinterest Party #3
Wed
17
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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LNFS presents Anchorman 2
UK Toastmasters
Virtual Dementia Tour
Children at Risk Research Conference Keynote Address: Gender, Sexuality, & Risks for Violence among Young Women and LGBTQ Youth in Urban Communities
OUTspoken: Leaving the Second Closet Behind
LNFS presents Easy Rider
Thu
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Children at Risk Graduate Student Research Poster Presenatation
20th Annual Black Women's Conference
Children at Risk Research Conference Speaker: Why Do Home and Neighborhood Issues Become School Safety Nightmares?
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
Fri
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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20th Annual Black Women's Conference
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
UK Track and Field Home meet
Unleash the Beast: Paintball Wars
Sat
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Sun
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Distinguished Industry Lecture Series, H. Graham Motion and Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr.
Mon
22
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Job Club: Tighten Your Budget after a Job Loss
‘Project Learning Tree’ Workshop for Educators
Drug War Talk by Anthropologist Howard Campbell
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
23
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
LNFS presents The Lego Movie
Registration Deadline: Weight Loss Matters
Legacy Week: Ping Pong Ball Drop
Health Smart: Mindfulness
Pre-Pharmacy Club Meeting
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and Tree Healthcare Class 4
Shuffle Series: Bluegrass
Wed
24
Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
LNFS presents The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
UK Toastmasters
Wellness On Wheels
LNFS presents Juno
Perelman’s Dissociations: Double Fidélité, Fighting the Nazis, and the New Rhetoric Project’s Canon of Invention – Annual Hymson Lecture
Legacy Week: Candlelight Ceremony
Thu
25
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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Exhibit: Fauna of Mexico
LNFS presents The Brave Little Toaster
Bonfires of Illusions: the Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Arbor Day Volunteer Orientation and Training
Alex Callinicos - "Bonfires of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
LNFS presents Pariah
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Color Me Spring Fashion Show
Fri
26
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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Legacy Week: Leave Your Legacy
Arbor Day at The Arboretum
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Sat
27
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
UK Wind Symphony Concert
UK Symphony & Concert Band Concert
Sun
28
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
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Mon
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Politics in Mexico Today
Tue
30
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EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Relieving Stress Through Your Senses
Tree Identification Class 5
Massage on the Go #3
The Practicing Happiness Workbook - author presentation
Wed
 
 
 

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