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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Harriet Adeline Stevens papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1928-1994
Creator: Stevens, Harriet Adeline (1909 -)
Extent: 5.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0707
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Teacher of nutrition education and dietetics; U. S. Army Second Lieutenant who served as a medical hospital dietician at Camp Gordon, Georgia during World War II.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 520) were donated by Harriet A. Stevens in 1998.

Preferred Citation: Harriet Adeline Stevens papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason
Email: lib-women@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/iwa

Harriet Adeline Stevens had a long and distinguished career in the field of nutrition education and dietetics. The daughter of Guy and Adeline Stevens, she was born in Iowa City, Iowa, on October 25, 1909. She graduated from University High School, Iowa City, in 1928. Stevens received a B.A. in Home Economics and a certificate of education with high distinction from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1932. She also received an M.A. in Nutrition from the State University of Iowa in January 1934.

After teaching one term at Emporia State Teacher's College in Emporia, Kansas, Stevens moved to Chicago. She held a variety of supervisory positions in the dietary department of the University of Chicago Clinics between July 1934 and November 1938. Seeking a change of pace, she took charge of the main kitchen of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in Richmond, Virginia. With the outbreak of war in late 1941, her best workers "soon found out they could get paid more by the Army than they were paid by MCV!" Once she heard from other dieticians that "working conditions [in the Army] were a snap," she enlisted immediately.

Stevens joined the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and served as a Medical Hospital Dietician at Camp Gordon, Georgia from March 1942 to February 1945. In October 1943, she was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant- Head Medical Hospital Dietician. She served overseas between March 1945 and December 1945, working at a camp hospital in Great Britain for a time. She received an honorable discharge in January 1946.

On return to civilian life, she spent the summer of 1946 taking dietetics coursework at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She then accepted the post of Senior Nutritionist with the New York Department of Health, a job she held from 1946 to 1951. She returned to the University of Iowa in 1951 and taught in the Home Economics Department from 1951 to 1974. During that time, she taught or assisted in the teaching of a wide range of nutrition and child-care courses. Her approach to teaching was pragmatic and applied, in keeping with her considerable practical experience. She continued her education at the University of Iowa, working closely with Dr. Margaret Ohlson of the Dietetics Department of the University Hospital. Stevens also produced a number of distinguished publications. In 1961, she won honorable mention in the Lydia J. Roberts Essay Award Competition, one of the highest honors bestowed by the American Dietetics Association. Her final major publication, Fixing and Eating (1974), showed children how to prepare easy, nutritious recipes. She was a member of the American Dietetic Association, the American Home Economics Association, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Although she retired in 1974, Stevens continued to take an active interest in the University. She actively opposed the targeting of "historically female" departments by the University Steering Committee in 1991. She also endowed the Stevens Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually by Phi Beta Kappa in memory of her parents, thereby encouraging academic excellence.

The Harriet A. Stevens papers date from 1928 to 1994and measure 5 linear inches. They are arranged in six series: Biographical Materials; Department of Home Economics, University of Iowa; World War II Army Service; Press Releases; Publications and Presentations; and Phi Beta Kappa. Her papers consist of academic and professional records, Army service records, publications and press releases pertaining to her work as a nutrition researcher and educator, and materials relating to her tenure in the Home Economics Department of the University of Iowa and the Home Economics Department in general. Records concerning the University of Iowa Alpha of Phi Beta Kappa, as well as information regarding the Stevens scholarship, are contained herein. A small folder of biographical material on fellow nutrition researcher Dr. Margaret Ohlson is included in this collection, as is a small folder on Stevens' efforts to combat the elimination of "historically female" departments at the University of Iowa.

This collection provides little information on Stevens' career prior to her Army service. Her personal recollections of Army life at Camp Gordon provide a fascinating, if brief, look at the stateside war. Stevens' academic and professional records, first as a student and later as a faculty member with the University of Iowa, invite researchers to examine the changing structure and philosophy of home economics education. A collection of press releases relating to Home Economics Department activities in the 1950s and 1960s offers a sometimes humorous look at changing gender ideologies during that period.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
Series 2: DEPARTMENT OF HOME ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
Series 3: WORLD WAR II ARMY SERVICE
Series 4: PRESS RELEASES
Series 5: PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
Series 6: PHI BETA KAPPA

  • Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
  • Box 1:
  • Academic records
  • Professional records and awards
  • Certificates
  • Series 2: DEPARTMENT OF HOME ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
  • Box 1:
  • Summaries of University of Iowa Breakfast Studies - 1940-1949
  • Materials Pertaining to 50th Anniversary Celebration - 1963
  • Dr. Margaret Ohlson, biographical materials and photo
  • Gradual Phase-Out of Historically Female Departments
  • Series 3: WORLD WAR II ARMY SERVICE
  • Box 1:
  • Personal reminiscences
  • Camp Gordon, Georgia
  • Overseas duty (2 folders)
  • Discharge records; records of rank promotion
  • Series 4: PRESS RELEASES
  • Box 1:
  • Child care and nutrition
  • Economical food preparation and nutrition advice
  • Home economics department activities
  • Series 5: PUBLICATIONS AND PRESENTATIONS
  • Box 1:
  • "Twenty-Four Hour Recall Diets and Dietary Patterns for Five Groups of Subjects Enrolled in a Series of Laboratory Studies," American Dietetics Association, Miami, Florida - 1962
  • "Dietary Intakes of Five Groups of Subjects," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May - 1963
  • "Wider Worlds For Women," Iowa Alumni Review, February - 1963
  • "Characteristics of Home Economics Graduates 1953-1964," Journal of Home Economics, December - 1965
  • "Nutritive Value of the Diets of Medically Indigent Pregnant Women," Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April - 1967
  • "Characteristics of Graduates Holding Advanced Degrees with Majors in Home Economics and Nutrition, 1924-1966," Journal of Home Economics, December - 1968
  • Fixing and Eating: Food Activities for Young Children - 1974
  • Photos from Fixing and Eating
  • "Senior Citizen Friends," Benton County Heritage Agency on Aging - 1994
  • "The Mary O. Coldren Home" - 1992
  • Series 6: PHI BETA KAPPA
  • Box 1:
  • Materials relating to Stevens Memorial Scholarship (2 folders)
  • Minutes (duties of officers, invitations) - 1969, 1985, 1987
  • Press releases