The Records of the School of Domestic Arts and Sciences consist of historical documents, governing documents, minutes, correspondence, financial records, subject files, and ledgers. While the records span the years 1899 to 1972, the bulk of the material dates from 1901 to 1943.
Dating from 1911 to 1943, the historical documents consist of official histories, clippings, press releases, and course bulletins that articulate developments in the School's mission, organization, and curricula. The histories comprise Bonnie Winthrow Evans (Mrs. Lynden Evans) and Mrs. Edson B. Fowler's typescript and published interpretations of the School's development, as well as a 1961 typescript relating the history of Northwestern's home economics program. While the bulk of the clippings (1911-1965) and press releases (1943-1946) pertain to home economics at Northwestern, two folders of pamphlets and bulletins (1909-1943) explain the School's curricula and reflect its recruitment efforts.
Governing documents comprise the by-laws and documents of incorporation that provided the School's legal framework.
Chronologically arranged within the context of each governing entity, the minutes of the School's Board of Directors (1901-1929), Executive Committee (1929-1939), and Board of Trustees (1935-1945) consist of documents and bound volumes that detail the School's basic operations from its founding in 1901 through its early years as Northwestern University's department of home economics.
One slim folder of general correspondence spanning from 1908 to 1972 pertains mainly to the gradual transfer of School records to the Northwestern University Archives (1943-1972) and the publication of Mrs. Edson B. Fowler's pamphlet history of the School of Domestic Arts and Sciences in 1947.
The financial records comprise one folder of financial documents (1899-1969)—including wills, donor lists, financial statements, and correspondence —relating to School income and expenditures; as well as eight volumes of treasurer's books dating from 1902 to 1916. (See also the financial ledgers.)
Arranged alphabetically, the subject files date from 1923 to 1945 and include some undated material. Course materials (1941-1942) include forms, syllabi, and schedules relating to School instruction prior to the merger with Northwestern University. Two folders of correspondence, financial records, and legal documents apparently compiled by Anna Rew Gross, financial donor and member of the Board of Trustees, span from 1929 to 1943 and document the re-organization of School government in 1929; the proposed acquisition of additional School facilities in 1941; and general business of the Board of Trustees. Correspondents include Madeline Mehlig, director of the Executive Committee. While the membership file contains revised membership rosters, trustees' minutes, financial estimates, and correspondence pertaining to social events between 1945 and 1952, the documentation of membership builds on a roster from 1929. The Northwestern University file (1943-1945) includes course schedules, syllabi, and progress reports relating to the new Department of Home Economics. Undated publicity documents consist of form letters, composed by Executive Committee director Madeline Mehlig, that targeted “church pastors,” “young marrieds,” and other mailing list groups. The S.D.A.S. v. Cook County Treasurer file (1923-1925) contains correspondence and legal documents pertaining to a 1925 Cook County Court decision that reaffirmed the School of Domestic Arts and Sciences' tax-exempt status. Mr. Lyndon Evans, husband of School president Bonnie Winthrow Evans, presented the School's case to the court. The undated speech file contains both a speakers' schedule and the typescript of a fundraising speech presented by School president Bonnie Winthrow Evans to the Chicago Association of Commerce. Finally, the “wartime” file (1942) documents director Madeline Mehlig's suggestions on meal planning and gardening during World War II.
Three financial ledgers (1912-1915; 1915-1918; and 1916-1926) meticulously record and categorize the School's income from sources such as food and ticket sales, membership dues, donations, interest, and tuition; and also its expenditures, including rent, salaries, and even postage. Financial transactions and account balances appear with their corresponding dates.
Finally, the roster and grades ledger (1919-1939) lists students by year and department and shows their grade in each course.