In 1925, at an event honoring Martha Van Rensselaer, cochair of the Department of Home Economics at Cornell University, an alumna of the department commented to the assembled crowd that "she it is, with the partner she came to love and who came to love her, who has imparted to every girl who has had the great privilege of spending four years with them, an ideal of womanhood in service to mankind." 1 The partner Van Rensselaer came to love, her cochair of the department, was Flora Rose. Together the two women created the department at Cornell and stewarded its transition into an independent college of the university (also in 1925), simultaneously serving as pioneers and leaders in the home economics movement. The love between the two, as all who knew them acknowledged, went far beyond the collegial. The two women lived together from around 1908 until Van Rensselaer's death in 1932 and were so inseparable that they were often referred to collectively as Miss Van Rose.
With the lips and eyes of a valentine
and a smile from the Sunday comics;
he was the Practice Baby in a College of Home Economics.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"Oh what a lucky baby I am!"
He often used to cry,
"To have a hundred Mammas
to make me hush-a-by!"
But in adulthood he felt disappointed and yearned for his earlier life,
And now he's grown to be a man,and grievously he misses
the care of his Model Mammas,
their cuddling and their kisses;
and oft he murmurs to himself,with his scowl from the Sunday comics;
"Do they need a Practice Husband
In the college of Home Economics?", ibid.
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